Water Supply Update – October

Tags:  2023 | News Release
Date Released: October 25, 2023

As water conservation regulations end for all water systems in the Region, the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) is providing an update on water projects as we enter the winter months.

Summer Drought Response Plan

In May, the SCRD began its annual Drought Response Plan (DRP). This plan outlines actions to be taken on all SCRD water systems through the summer months to secure water supply for residents. The following is a snapshot of this summer’s DRP.

Chapman Water System
The focus for the Chapman Water System was to ensure that as much water as possible remained in both Chapman and Edwards Lakes to be available for use in late summer. The SCRD achieved this primarily by utilizing the new Church Road Well and supply from Gray Creek. After weeks of drought conditions in the Region, the Chapman Water System entered Stage 4 water conservation regulations in September for 21 days.

Service from the Church Road Well Field assisted through the summer and helped to prevent a prolonged period of Stage 4 water conservation regulations. This well field, in addition to a water supply agreement with the Town of Gibsons and the installation of the water meters in the Sechelt area will further help secure future water supply.

North Pender Water System
As has been the case in previous years, the North Pender Water system remained at Stage 1 water conservation regulations through the summer.

South Pender Water System
This summer, the South Pender Water System entered an extended period of Stage 3 water conservation regulations. This was likely due to two main factors.

  • McNeil and Harris lakes were still suffering the effects of drought from summer 2022. They did not recharge as quickly as they have done in the past after rainfall. The SCRD will monitor these lakes, and the changes being experienced as plans are put in place for next summer.
  • Water use was very for high for some properties through the summer. The SCRD made direct contact with property owners who were using high volumes of water and saw some reduction after residents were made aware of just how much water they were using.

Due to the uncertainty on how climate change will affect water supply, as well as the unknowns of how the system will recharge, residents on the South Pender Water System should be prepared for similar water conservation regulations next summer.

Eastbourne Water System
Just this week, the Eastbourne Water System came off of Stage 4 water conservation regulations. Again, the SCRD has seen changes in how the aquifer that feeds this system has recharged through the summer months.

Ongoing Projects

Several projects are underway to secure water supply for the Sunshine Coast.

Water Meter Installation Project
The installation of water meters in the Sechelt area has begun. The project is focused on the retrofit and replacement of existing meters for the rest of this year with the wider residential and business installation project set to begin in March (weather depending). Further information about this project can be found here. 

Lower Crown Raw Water Reservoir
The SCRD and shíshálh Nation have jointly applied for funding for two water reservoirs and upgrades to the Chapman Water Treatment Plant through the Government of Canada Disaster Mitigation Adjustment Fund. It is anticipated that decisions on funding will take several months. In the meantime, shíshálh Nation has requested immediate funding for the Lower Crown Reservoir from the Province of BC which could expedite work on this project.

SCRD and shíshálh Nation have begun working together on the many tasks associated with this project to ensure we are well positioned to proceed once Board approval and funding confirmation are in place. A recent report to the SCRD Board outlined steps taken to date on this project. The report can be found here. SCRD staff are evaluating this project along side the ongoing raw water reservoir project that had been undertaken above the Sechelt Airport.

Langdale Well Field
The two test wells have been completed at the Langdale Well Field. A draft plan for construction of these well fields has been completed and will be presented to the Board at the November 9, Committee of the Whole meeting. During testing, the water supply from these wells was quite considerable and adding them to the Chapman Water System would further diversify our water supply.

Eastbourne Groundwater Development
Pump tests on three test wells on the Eastbourne Water System were completed in February.  This project aims to provide a year-round sustainable water service for residents on this water system located on a portion of Keats Island. A report, outlining next steps and recommendations to the Board will be discussed this Thursday, October 26, at the SCRD’s Committee of the Whole. You can read the report here.

Garden Bay Water Treatment Upgrade
The feasibility study for this upgrade has been completed. Upgrades are necessary at Garden Bay due to water quality issues and to ensure that the highest standards of quality drinking water are met. The cost of an upgrade could be up to $9 million. SCRD staff are considering next steps.

“What is outlined in this release is just a snapshot of the work being done to secure water supply on the Sunshine Coast,” says SCRD Board Chair Leonard Lee. “This summer, we have seen other jurisdictions in our province grapple with water supply issues for the first time, on many occasions they reached out to SCRD staff for advice. What we know is that decisions made by our previous and current Boards to diversify our water supply are coming to fruition as we see the impact of climate change on our water systems.”

Stay up to date with water projects and ask questions at any time at www.scrd.ca/letstalk