STORY OF THE YEAR: Water supply being taken for granted

Water. It's everywhere. Everywhere, that is, except on the minds of Nanaimo residents.

Water. It’s everywhere.

Everywhere, that is, except on the minds of Nanaimo residents.

We turn on the tap and expect it to flow, and it always does.

But as the city’s population edges toward 100,000 people, as climate change creates a less reliable water source, and health requirements for safe, clean drinking water increase, the cost of that water arriving in our homes is becoming increasingly expensive and more complex.

Already, water user rates will be increasing by five per cent annually to fund some of these projects, but municipalities on central Vancouver Island and across Canada are struggling to find ways to pay for these severely underfunded projects.

In 10 years, unless tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money is spent to build another dam, it is projected that Nanaimo could experience significant water shortages in the summer months. Or we could run out altogether.

Water on central Vancouver Island is already a huge issue, and it will continue to be a challenge into the future.

Immediately, the city is building a $61-million water treatment facility that is expected to provide safe drinking water for at least 30 years, a requirement mandated by the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

The top issue facing Lantzville is water —further development is impossible without it, and there isn’t much to be found there, and Nanaimo city staff and council have been working on contracts to ensure an emergency water supply should the worst case scenario reach the Nanaimo River, our sole source of drinking water, or the infrastructure that has been built along it to store our water.

What’s more, even if Mother Nature cooperates by providing us with enough water, and we build a place to store it, the hundreds of kilometres of aging infrastructure that delivers it to your household will need to be repaired or replaced as time passes.

Like gasoline and electricity, what was once considered an infinite supply will one day in the near future be realized to be very finite, and therefore more expensive.

Water. It may not be the sexiest subject, or most controversial, but without a proper plan and a lot of money to ensure future water supply, nothing else really matters.

Just Posted

According to a staff report, Regional District of Nanaimo has seen some $13.6 million in grant applications approved between Jan. 1 and May 15. (News Bulletin file)
Close to $14 million in money granted to RDN in first half of year

Successful grants include more than $4 million for transit service in Regional District of Nanaimo

A section of the rail corridor on Vancouver Island. (Black Press file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Put rail trail right overtop of the tracks

Removing tracks would be a horrendous expense, says letter writer

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

People in Metro Vancouver can expect to experience a short wave of heat just in time for Father’s Day, according to Environment Canada. (Black Press Media files)
Short-lived heatwave headed for Metro Vancouver this weekend

Temperatures are expected to be up to 10 degrees higher than average Sunday and Monday

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Janice Coady, left, Aimee Chalifoux and Linda Milford at a vigil for Amy Watts on Wednesday, June 16, outside Nanaimo city hall. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
‘We need to do better,’ says mother of woman killed in Nanaimo

Vigil held for former outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found downtown June 3

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Most Read