The Standard for Safe Drinking Water



To provide safe drinking water, the water utilities must meet the criteria set out within Drinking Water Protection Regulation, BC Reg. 200/2003. The regulation sets out the standards for water supply by public and private utilities in BC. The regulation does not set out stringent requirements for individual water quality parameters such as turbidity, colour, etc., but leaves this to the discretion of the Drinking Water Officer. The Drinking Water Officer’s authority is delegated by the Province to the local health authorities under the Drinking Water Protection Act. Interior Health is the statutory authority regulating drinking water for the City of Kelowna.


The Interior Health requires that all larger water utilities in the Southern Interior meet the 4,3,2,1,0 water quality criteria. The criterion is defined as:

4 log (99.99%) removal and/or inactivation of Bacteria and Viruses;

 3 log (99.9%) removal and/or inactivation of protozoa including Giardia Lamblia and Cryptosporidium;

 2 treatment barriers including at least one form of disinfection;

< 1.0 NTU turbidity units year round;

0 Total Coliforms/E. Coli in the system at all times

If filtration is not one of the two treatment barriers, then Interior Health has requirements for Filtration Deferral, which includes a Drinking Water Source Assessment. These requirements are designed to verify that the source water is of high quality and will remain in a state of higher quality for the long term. 

Under the Drinking Water Protection Regulation of the Drinking Water Protection Act, all public water utilities are required to obtain a Permit to Operate from the local health authority. The regulations also allow health officials to place conditions on this operating permit that the utility must meet.

The operating permit conditions were developed to clearly set the standards that must be met by the utility in the operation and distribution of the public water supply. They are:

  1. Provide a certified operator to operate the system
  2. Operate according to your Water Quality Sampling Program
  3. Provide continuous online turbidity monitoring of well water for each surface source
  4. Provide continuous online monitoring of the water disinfection process
  5. Operate according to your Cross-Connection Control Program
  6. Review and update the Emergency Response Plan annually
  7. Provide long-term plans for source, treatment and distribution system improvements
  8. Report monitoring results and provide an annual summary

The intent of these conditions is to insure the utility is maintained and operated in a professional manner in the interest of protecting public health.