Metering will not cure Comox Valley’s water problems

Dear editor,

Universal water metering makes sense in communities that source their water from hard water aquifers or where water is scarce.

Dear editor,

Universal water metering makes sense in communities that source their water from hard water aquifers, making water treatment very expensive or in communities where water is scarce.

These conditions do not exist in the Comox Valley.

Our water is primarily rainwater (soft and inexpensive to treat with a little chlorine) and we have lots of it.

Even if statistics were to show that residents use more water than the provincial or national average, what does it matter anyway?

If we don’t use it, it just goes into the ocean. It is not as if our use is going to deprive some other users downstream. There aren’t any.

In the water department, Mother Nature has provided for us very well. I rains and it rains a lot for half the year. In our watershed we have a natural reservoir (Comox Lake) that has a usable capacity (between high- and low-water marks) of 94 million cubic metres.

Above this reservoir, our watershed keeps rising in elevation. Between 3,000 and 6,000 feet elevation it snows during the winter. This snowpack slowly melts during the warmer, drier months providing us with more water just when we need it.

Not only that, but at the very top of the watershed we have a glacier! The absolute worst-case scenarios of drought and/or climate change would just make this glacier melt faster and we would still have water!

All the smartest engineers and bureaucrats in the world could not have devised a better, more reliable water system. We don’t have a water problem; we have a water storage and delivery problem.

Decades of successive local governments have underinvested in our water system. We don’t even have our own intake out of the reservoir and our aged water mains leak.

According to the existing water licences, we consume a mere one per cent of what BC Hydro uses.

We could build our own intake or we could build a raw water reservoir (RWR) large enough to supply our needs when BC Hydro periodically cuts us off to perform maintenance on its plant.

While the RWR would not immediately improve water quality like the deep intake would, it would give us more options.

BC Hydro routinely has to release excess water from the reservoir. Some of that could be added to the RWR and stored for later use. With the RWR we could have a fenced, secure and constantly monitored source of water, something we will never have with the existing reservoir and deep intake alone.

Or how about raising the level of Comox Lake by a foot? This would increase the usable capacity of the reservoir by 10 per cent.

Surely after growing capacity by that much we could apply for and get one more percent of the flow (revised upwards) and BC Hydro would not have to release “excess water” as often. That would double our current supply overnight.

Why bother/waste money on meters?

Five years ago the cost of universal metering was estimated at $7 million. Our politicians and bureaucrats seem intent on taking the easy way out by blaming us, the users, for the “problem” and spending our own money to do it.

What they should be doing is investing our money where it will do some good to increase supply, detect/fix leaks and improve the quality/reliability of the resource. Metering will do none of the above.

Francois Lepine,

Courtenay

 

Just Posted

Haida Manga artist to speak at North Island College

Award-winning visual artist and author Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas will speak at North… Continue reading

UPDATE: Courtenay home a ‘write-off’ after Sunday afternoon fire

Two occupants of the home and one of a neighbouring house were treated for minor smoke inhalation

L’Arche Comox Valley looking for volunteers to document seniors’ life stories

The Sharing Side by Side program is starting back up in April

MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard welcomes new playground for Airport Elementary School in Comox

Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard says students at Airport Elementary School are getting… Continue reading

Island AeroBarrier donates building sealing services to Habitat for Humanity

The new Courtenay-based business sealed two units at the Lake Trail Road build

Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

Police say the gunman in the shooting that killed 50 acted alone

B.C. argues it cannot stop Trans Mountain, but it can protect environment

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says only Ottawa has the authority to decide what goes in trans-boundary pipelines

B.C. poverty plan combines existing spending, housing programs

Target is to lift 140,000 people out of poverty from 2016 level

Avalanche warning issued for all B.C. mountains

Warm weather to increase avalanche risk: Avalanche Canada

Temperature records dating back to 1947 broken in B.C.

The Squamish airport recorded the hottest temperature in the province (and Canada) on Sunday: 21.3 C

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick retires

Jody Wilson-Raybould has accused Wernick of pressuring her to head off criminal charges for SNC-Lavalin

Dutch tram shooting suspect arrested, say police

Police say three people were killed in the shooting Monday and five wounded

Canada extends Iraq and Ukraine military missions to 2021 and 2022

Extension is part of efforts to curb Russian aggression and to fight against Islamic militants

WestJet suspends 2019 financial guidance after Boeing 737 Max grounded

The company has 13 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft grounded by regulators after the Ethiopian crash

Most Read