History of Lakeview System

Early History

The City of West Kelowna's Lakeview System began as the Lakeview Irrigation District. The former water utility was incorporated on May 27, 1951, with the signing of the Letters Patent.

The irrigation district was originally formed to predominantly serve the Lakeview Heights neighbourhood, which had been formed as part of a nationwide program, which the Government of Canada's Veterans Land Administration created to establish industry and employment for Second World War veterans.
Dun Waters Diversion - CWK Archives

Board of Trustees

After the Letters Patent were signed, the first order of business was to establish the first Board of Trustees. The Water Rights Branch in Victoria appointed Mr. George Stevenson, Mr. Bob Willis, Mr. Fred Waterman, Mr. Pat Bennett and Mr. Felix Menu . Mr. Willis as their first chairman. Read the Capital News article about the history of the Lakeview Irrigation District.

Rose Valley Dam

Even before the Lakeview Irrigation District was established in 1951, a dam was constructed in Rose Valley to create a reservoir. The dam towered approximately 15 metres from the base of the narrow valley and the resulting reservoir had an initial storage capacity of approximately 2.9 million cubic metres. The reservoir provided the water for the many hectares of new orchards being developed in Lakeview Heights. 

In addition to the creation of the dam, a diversion system had to be built to carry water from Lambly Creek to the reservoir. A series of open ditches and wooden flumes stretched nearly three kilometres, carrying the water overland to the new reservoir. The system didn't last long because of the many challenges it presented. Water froze in winter, the flume was often damaged by slides or the occasional stray hunter's bullet. Workers had to traverse the precarious system looking for leaks and making repairs, even in areas where the flume was hung alongside or over canyon walls.

The last of the old flumes were removed in 1969 after an 86 centimetre pressure pipe system was constructed form Lambly Creek to Rose Valley Dam. This provided an uninterrupted supply of water year round.

Additional Development

In 1977, Rose Valley Dam was raised another 4.5 metres, increasing the storage capacity to 5.6 million cubic metres. A chlorination system was added simultaneously.

In the 80s, development began to occur at a more hurried pace and Lakeview Irrigation District assumed the Shannon Lake Water Utility in 1989. Water lines were connected to the area and the water main running out of Rose Valley Dam was twinned to meet the added demand. In 1993/94, the Big Horn Dam and Reservoir were created to increase upland storage capacity. The reservoir was raised in 2004 and 2005.

Other projects have included water education and conservation initiatives, including the installation of metres, and construction of a third dam on Lambly Creek. The last of the irrigation district's major capital projects was the construction of the $1 million Dun Waters Creek diversion in 2007 and 2008. This channel enables transfer of up to 1.5 million cubic metres of water from Dun Waters and North Terrace Creeks, if required, to meet usage demands.