Important water answers needed

Here in Nanaimo, we have important decisions to make in regard to our water.

To the Editor,

Water is a growing issue all over our planet (Read Ladysmith author Chris Wood’s Dry Spring). Here in Nanaimo, we have important decisions to make in regard to our water.

For instance, we should take a broad, long-term look at the implications of a recent idea to sell water to cruise ships.

How are we going to ensure water supply for the growing population of Nanaimo – four large proposed developments in and around Nanaimo (Cable Bay, Sandstone and two Island Timberlands projects), Timberwest looking to develop along the Nanaimo River, Nanaimo Airport plans to expand business on its land over the Cassidy aquifer, rapidly expanding Ladysmith looking to the Cassidy aquifer for future use, Yellowpoint residents lacking water, and Lantzville requiring water, (not to mention a rumour of another large development) – where are the proper planning and controls for the entire region?

The Cassidy aquifer, a large but very vulnerable resource under porous terrain in an earthquake zone, has been declining over the years (see the Vancouver Island University Groundwater Study).

Harmac has water rights to a large quantity of water that affects the aquifer. Island Timberlands owns the watershed where Nanaimo gets its water.

This topic is huge and the City of Nanaimo, and the regional districts of Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley, along with residents, need to collaborate on long-term planning before we are in too deep in an unsustainable growth model.

I wonder what the new B.C. Water Modernization Act does to protect our resources, if sale of water to cruise ships and elsewhere is allowed? Is anyone paying attention?

Lavonne Garnett