The Regional District of North Okanagan-Greater Vernon Water (RDNO-GVW) supports farming and is committed to providing agricultural water rates that are competitive within the region.
Applications for Agricultural Water Rates (Farm Classification) are due by February 15, 2023. For more information, click on the drop down below.
Agricultural water services are turned on for the season mid-April and water is available until mid-September, unless an application for Extended Irrigation Season is made (see section below). Turn-On / Turn-Off dates are determined annually and depend on factors such as weather and/or drought.
- Please note that it takes approximately two (2) weeks for operations staff to reach all customer services during the turn on / off periods.
All services must have a water meter installed along with the appropriate backflow prevention device PRIOR TO TURN ON. Any property that does not have both of these devices installed when the operators are in your area will not be turned on and will be charged an Operator Service Fee for each additional visit the Operator has to make to their property (per Greater Vernon Water Rates Imposition Bylaw No. 2864, 2020). If the water meter and backflow prevention device are not installed by mid-April, you may have to wait until Operators have completed all other turn-ons. All testable backflow devices must be tested within 30 days of turn on and the reports submitted to Greater Vernon Water annually by June 15. For a list of certified backflow assembly testers and for more information about the Cross Connection Control Program, visit the Cross Connection Control page. To view your agricultural water consumption, visit www.rdno.ca/agconnect.
Extended Irrigation Season Application
To apply, please complete the Extended Irrigation Season form and return to our office with a $95.00 (per property) application fee.
- For late turn-off, applications submitted after the deadline will be subject to an additional $200.00 Late Fee. The mid September deadline varies year to year. This deadline is mentioned in the annual spring turn-on letter sent to customers in the spring, will be advertised in the local newspaper under the RDNO section for a few weeks before the deadline, posted on Facebook, or you can contact the RDNO office for the deadline.
- Please leave the irrigation meter on until the final reading is obtained.
- It is the customer’s responsibility to protect the meter and Backflow Prevention Device from freezing. Equipment should be drained after turn-off and covered or removed for storage. DO NOT blow high pressure air through the meter or backflow preventer as this could damage the assembly. Instructions for winterizing your equipment can be found at www.rdno.ca/ccc.
- As 96% of customers are finished using water by mid-September, turn-offs are initiated to protect water services from the risk of cracking due to an early frost.
- Self-Serve customers who do not apply for an Extended Irrigation Season late turn-off will be charged the Off-Season Rate ($0.95/cubic metre in 2023) for all water usage after the regular turn off date.
Water usage for non-agricultural purposes does not qualify for the agricultural water rate. Customers with a water service metered under the agricultural rate cannot use that water for non-agricultural purposes such as:
- inside the home
- lawns, personal gardens, and landscaping
Agricultural water customers receive a water allocation based on several factors - the size of their property, the maximum flow volume the water distribution was designed to provide, and the average water requirements for crops grown in this region. Allocation is designated by the RDNO and is linked to the land. Water services designated with allocation cannot be used for residential watering (e.g. lawn and garden sprinklers).
Customers classified as a Farm with BC Assessment are automatically billed at the agricultural water rate (if their property has allocation from the RDNO). If the property loses Farm Status through BC Assessment, the water service will not be turned on until you have contacted GVW to confirm you are aware you will be charged Domestic Water Rates, unless you apply for Farm Classification.
Any customers without “BC Assessment Farm Classification” may apply to get agricultural water rates if their property has allocation and meet the following requirements:
- Complete an application for Farm Classification, which includes an application fee of $65.00 (an additional late fee of $200.00 will apply if applications are received after February 15 annually).
- Confirm (on the application) that they are engaged in bona fide farming activity and can provide proof on income from that activity.
- For water allocations above 0.4 hectares (1 acre) but less than or equal to 0.82 hectares (2 acres), provide proof of agricultural income above $1,000.
- For water allocations greater than 0.82 hectares (2 acres) agricultural incomes must be above $2,500.
NOTE: Applications must be submitted each year. Verification of above agricultural income (e.g. receipts) must be included with every application.
Applications and fees for the Farm Classification must be submitted to the RDNO before February 15 of the applicable year. Forms may be obtained at the offices of the RDNO, District of Coldstream, and the City of Vernon, or download the application for Farm Classification.
Customers are charged a flat fee for their water allocation – any water use over that volume is charged additional fees.
Prior to 2016, some agricultural customers may have received a 0.4 ha Allocation Fee Credit that reduced their allocation fees. This credit has been removed to reflect that Agricultural customers may use the full extent of their property’s allocation, even with a dwelling unit on that property. If a customer wishes to reduce their allocation they may apply to do so but should keep in mind that they would have to re-purchase their allocation if they wished to increase the amount to meet the irrigation demands of a different crop.
2023 Agricultural Over Consumption Rates as per Bylaw No. 2864, 2020, Schedule “A” (for water use over the property’s allocation):
Tier Amount Over Allocation Volumetric Rate A 0-20% over allocation $0.48 per cubic meter per year B over 20-50% over allocation $0.95 per cubic meter per year C over 50% over allocation $1.90 per cubic meter per year
Customers may apply to purchase Allocation to increase the volume of water they can use in a season. More information on the application process is available here.
Some customers may have Domestic Irrigation (Garden Service) which is an irrigation service separate from the domestic service but the property does not have Farm Classification from either BC Assessment or the RDNO. In this case, there is a Garden Service application that has to be completed (only once) to turn on and off the irrigation service annually.
Greater Vernon Water (GVW) agricultural customers can log in to AgConnect to see their allocation and monthly water use. Click here to access the log in page:
Log in by entering your confidential User ID, which is provided in your annual start of season letter from GVW. If you no longer have it please call 250-550-3700 and staff can provide you with your AgConnect User ID.
The Regional District of North Okanagan - Greater Vernon Water Utility (RDNO - GVW) is making the following information available as a public service under the following terms and conditions:
- This data is for general information only. RDNO - GVW provides this data for the user’s exclusive use only and is provided on an ‘as is’, ‘where is’ basis. Any re-use, transmission, duplication or distribution without the express written permission of the RDNO - GVW is not allowed.
- This data is derived from a variety of sources with varying levels of accuracy. While an effort is made to post only accurate information, RDNO - GVW makes no warranty or representation, expressed or implied, with the regard to the completeness, timeliness, accuracy and/or reliability of the data provided. Users should contact RDNO - GVW directly to request copies of By-Laws and any other information provided.
- RDNO - GVW makes no warranties, express or implied as to the fitness of the information for any purpose, or to results obtained by individuals using the information and is not responsible for any action taken in reliance on the information contained herein.
- Availability of digital data is not guaranteed and should not be depended on for critical needs. Outages may occur at any time for maintenance or other issues.
Click here for Greater Vernon Water’s Allocation Guide, an overview of what allocation is with examples of how to convert your allocation hectares to cubic meters of water (so you can compare your meter readings) and flow rates. Customers with allocation attached to their property are charged for it whether they use the water or not, as it is considered a benefit to have the property serviced for agricultural water.
Non-potable water is untreated water. Greater Vernon Water has a separated distribution system servicing a limited number of customers with non-potable water. Customers may have a non-potable service and a potable service. It is important to distinguish between them as non-potable water is not safe to drink. Any non-potable water taps should be labelled with "Do Not Drink" signs to protect anyone on the property. GVW offers Do Not Drink decals for sale, or use the link below to print your own.
Efficient irrigation helps keep costs down and saves water for times of drought. Visit the Irrigation Association of BC (IIABC) website for access to their irrigation resources and searchable list of certified irrigation professionals. Farmwest.com has useful information including weather forecasts, manure spreading advisories, Pest Degree Days tool, and irrigation guides. This site also hosts the Agriculture Irrigation Scheduling Calculator, which creates custom irrigation schedules using real-time weather forecasts.
The BC Ministry of Agriculture website has many resources on irrigation, nutrient management and drainage. Several fact sheets are available including:
- Irrigation Conservation Tips For Farms
- Irrigation Management Guide - BC Ministry of Agriculture
- Irrigation Scheduling
- Drought Management for Farms
Provincial Ministry of Agriculture AgriService – free service to respond to agricultural questions on irrigation and other farm activities:
Telephone: 1 888 221-7141
Looking for advice on how to work with nature instead of against it? The Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society helps farmers recognize the value of wildlife habitat on their property, which can help with pollination, pest management (owls and snakes are great for this!) and more. Visit "Farming with Wildlife" at www.osstewardship.ca/agriculture and consider partnering with OSSS to get support for your efforts.
The Climate and Agriculture Initiative B.C. has supported several pilot projects on managing wildfire and climate change risks. Check out their Guide to Wildfire Planning for Farms. Their full resource library can be found here.
Managing drainage and erosion can benefit your farm and nature. Consider exclusion fencing or planting vegetation buffers to reduce damage to streams and the loss of land to erosion. A local ranch has done this along Coldstream Creek near the Coldstream Cemetery if you'd like to see this work in action.
The Province of B.C. offers training on how to manage nutrients and Nutrient Management Plans are often a requirement for farms. Learn more here.
Winterizing Basics: remove meters and backflow devices and store in heated space over winter. Stand pipe and device valves should be left 1/4 open.
- DO NOT blow high pressure air through the meter or backflow preventer as this could damage the assembly.
- Customers with a new ERT (device in grey plastic case attached by wire to meter) should take care when removing the meter to protect the wires.
- The cost of repairs due to damage from frost or neglect will be charged to the property owner.
Sign Up for Alerts via Text, Voice Call or Email!
The RDNO offers a notification service through Voyent Alert! to help keep our agricultural water users up to date on any events that may impact your water supply, such as irrigation turn on/off dates, application deadlines, water conditions, water service interruptions more. After signing up, you can change your details or unsubscribe at any time.
The RDNO only uses the Voyent Alert! system for agricultural water information. To sign up for more broad emergency alerts, download the Alertable app.