LETTER: Water a ubiquitous topic in recent edition of The Record

Dear editor,

Interesting that the editor published a David Suzuki article on Cape Town’s water crisis in the same edition (March 22) that the CVRD has approval for a $110 million water treatment plant for Glacier fed Comox Lake.

In the same newspaper is an article on the Village of Cumberland spending millions on its water treatment plant and reservoir, not that far from the new,very, very expensive CVRD deep water intake. And then, the ongoing issue on the sale of bottled well water. This may seem a bit bizarre to newcomers, but we have multiple local governments in the Valley with competing interests. Not much of this approach to the water resource is in the public interest – particularly the affordability of the water resource. Many here are low income people.

David Suzuki is bewildered at the sale of bottled water here in Canada, where we have many stringent regulations and most have access to quality drinking water. He writes about extreme conservation action required in Cape Town, and some will advocate the same here. Nobody should be wasting water, although we have one of the most abundant sources of quality water, anywhere, in glacier-fed Comox Lake. Some here think that gardens, shrubs and greenery, including grass, is a waste of water. However, the real waste of potable water is leakage and overwatering. These are issues in areas of the Comox Valley community that have no form of water metering to detect leaks or wasted water.

The local politicians supporting the policy of this form of water waste know who they are. Some are running for mayor of Courtenay – the city that is the biggest consumer and controller of the Comox Valley Water Committee, which controls Comox Lake water sales. This is a very lucrative business with $29 millions in profit in the few past years. David Suzuki is right-more profit in water than gasoline.

So -I do have empathy with the Village of Cumberland who go it on its own, with little say in the CVRD, while the City of Courtenay controls Comox Lake water but doesn’t want to control water waste in Courtenay, with any form of water metering. Courtenay residents are right to be reluctant, as the regional government installed water meters with surcharges to their rural customers, even if they do not waste a drop!

Comox council is also anxious to profit from surcharging metered customers. It’s about money here –not conservation. Likely no surprise to newcomers,but what a great place to live!

Thankfully, we are very long way from Cape Town, but lets’ hope there is lots of debate about water in the 2018 local elections. My view is that we need elected people who will work together for the good of the working poor, and underfunded retirees; folks who need a break and those who have earned a break.

Phil Harrison


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