We are on stage 4 water restrictions once again. The SCRD Board has been debating the issue too long and playing politics by hurting some projects while promoting others. To me, its a question of priorities, but we should continue to work on all proposed projects. Here is my priority list:
We have plenty of water; we just need a place to store it. The current plan is to conduct a feasibility study on the reservoir, and then have it built by 2027. I support the feasibility study - a complicated engineering system such as a reservoir needs expert opinions before we make any firm decision. If we receive a positive result from the feasibility study in early 2019, I want to move forward as quickly as possible with obtaining the land, permits, and design. A reservoir is the long-term adaptation to our water system that we need that is most environmentally friendly, fiscally responsible, and able to supply our water needs.
#2 Water Meters
I estimate that water meters in Sechelt can extend Stage 3 water restrictions by 26 days. This could eliminate the need for stage 4 water restrictions every time in the last 10 years. This project can be implemented before summer 2020. We are stuck in a position where we are going to need to spend to have access to our plentiful water, and water meters provide the most immediate, and environmentally conscious strategy to addressing our water issue.
#3 Other Projects
Along with identifying groundwater sources, the Chapman Creek drawdown is my next priority. We should not neglect any part of the Comprehensive Regional Water Plan, and these items should still be worked on, as long as they don't slow down building the reservoir or installing water meters. Substantial progress has been made in the process of regaining control of our water system and removing Chapman Lake from Tetrahedron Provincial Park. We should continue this process so that we can implement any emergency supply measures without delay.