Water Projects Update – May
As the weather warms up and the Region enters water conservation regulations, the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) is providing an update on water projects.
Getting Ready for Summer
In the last update at the end of March, the SCRD outlined the priority for this summer being retaining as much water as possible in our main water sources, Chapman and Edwards Lakes for community use through late summer and early fall.
Since this last update, as with many other jurisdictions in the Province, Stage 1 Water Conservation Regulations have been implemented. A mailout has also gone to homes on the Sunshine Coast with advice on how residents can get ready for summer.
The SCRD is preparing for similar drought periods as the past two years. This means little to no rainfall with extended (100+ days) of drought. If we have a significant drought, then Stage 4 Water Conservation Regulations (complete ban on outdoor water use) will be in place at some point this summer.
The SCRD implements water conservation regulations to ensure that water is available for community use, health purposes and fire suppression through the summer and into the fall. As we have seen from this past year, these regulations helped extend water supply into December.
An update on water projects can be found below.
Church Road Well Field Project
This project has been underway for the past year and has the potential to provide 4.6 million litres of water per day to users on the Chapman Water System. The well field is anticipated to be complete and available for use in June. The following are the priorities for this project:
- The SCRD has secured larger pumps which will allow for a larger quantity of water to be drawn from the well field rather than the pumps that are currently in place. These pumps are due to be installed in the coming week and tested through late May.
- Water licence. The SCRD continues to collect Soames Creek flow and fish habitat survey data for Provincial Government review. This is one of the critical pieces of missing information that must be completed and provided as part of the water license issuance. The Province will require long-term well and stream monitoring to be continued after the water licence is issued.
Soames Creek Flow Monitoring Weir
Gray Creek is used as a water source throughout the summer months and provides roughly one million litres of water to users on the Chapman Water System per day. However, when rainfall occurs, the SCRD cannot use this source. This is due to what is known as “turbidity.” Rainfall causes particles on the creek bed to mix with the water making it unsafe to drink without some form of treatment at the creek.
The SCRD is in the second year of a three-year creek flow monitoring project that is required before further steps can be taken on the installation of a treatment plant. A flow sensor has been installed and real time creek flow data is being received for creek flow monitoring purposes. The installation of the treatment plant at this location would ensure that Gray Creek becomes a more reliable water source throughout the year.
Town of Gibsons Water Supply
The SCRD and the Town of Gibsons are jointly developing an agreement that would allow for the Town of Gibsons to supply water to the Chapman Water System earlier than past summers.
Reduction of Environment Flow Needs
The SCRD is required to release a significant amount of water from Chapman Lake for Environmental Flow Needs (EFN). This water ensures that fish habitat and aquatic ecosystems along Chapman Creek are maintained. The SCRD has developed recommendations on the reduction of the EFN that have been submitted to the Provincial Government. The current EFN is 200 litres per second. The SCRD has requested a reduction to 160 litres per second in June and July, and a reduction to 180 litres per second in August and September.
Any reduction in EFN would be supported by a robust monitoring program.
Siphons at Chapman Lake and Edwards Lake
Siphons at Chapman and Edwards Lakes are still in place to ensure that water can be accessed from the lakes when the channels that bring water from these lakes run dry. The siphons can be operated in an emergency basis during Stage 4 Water Conservation Regulations.
Staff have submitted applications to use siphons in the lakes for 2023 and 2024. The SCRD has engaged with the shishalh Nation in this process. The applications to use siphons require approval from both the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Forests.
Water Meter Project
The contract to install water meters in the Sechelt area has been awarded with work due to begin later this year. You can read more about the water meter project and the six-million-dollar grant awarded for the project here.
Raw Water Reservoir
Geotechnical drilling has been completed at a potential reservoir location near the Sechelt Airport. The SCRD’s consultant is finalizing analysis to determine the maximum and most economical footprint for a reservoir at this location. Further information on this project can be found at https://letstalk.scrd.ca/reservoir.
Langdale Well Field
Results from this well field have appeared favourable so far. Through the summer, staff will finalize a Board report outlining the potential impacts of the well field to Langdale Creek. An initial groundwater license application will be submitted to the Province this summer. A request for proposal (RFP) will be issued this summer for consultant services to complete the final design, permitting, and preparation of the new well field drawings and conveyance system.
On Thursday, May 11, at the Committee of the Whole meeting, SCRD infrastructure staff will provide a water supply update to the SCRD Board and to the community. This meeting will also include reports on water projects and water supply for this summer. Anyone can attend this meeting in the SCRD Boardroom at 1975 Field Road in Sechelt. Agendas and links to join virtually or watch the meeting online can be found at www.scrd.ca/agendas.
Manager, Communications and Engagement