Drought conditions have posed challenges for the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD), which has been tackling the issues of water supply and water conservation simultaneously.
Michael Day, the SCRD’s general manager of infrastructure, said metering and community outreach were priorities this year, with a focus on meter installations, leak detection and repair.
According to Day, water meter-based leak detection is saving about a million litres a day. As of Sept. 26, leaks totaling 780,000 litres per day in the Chapman regional system have been fixed.
“It’s a lot of water,” Day said.
He said a rough estimate of the amount of water that was being wasted every day is equivalent to the amount in the swimming pool at the Sechelt Aquatic Centre. The total yearly loss in the SCRD was approximately 350 million litres of water due to leaks.
Day told SCRD infrastructure committee members last week that “one in five of all service connections have been found to have leaks,” and that more than 1,000 leaks have been found since February. He commended residents for voluntarily fixing the leaks; he said the voluntary response rate has been about 75 per cent.
Day said as well as conservation efforts to address the water situation, the SCRD has also been looking at new water sources.
“Access to additional water from Chapman Lake and groundwater resource investigation have been the two top priorities from a supply perspective,” he said.
Results from a six-month groundwater investigation will be presented to the SCRD board in the coming weeks; however, Day said, “it will be some time yet before we have any operating wells.”
The SCRD is awaiting provincial approval to deepen an outlet from Chapman Lake, which would enable water to be drawn down an additional five metres.
“The plan has been actively under consideration for a couple of years now by the province. It’s a slow process. The lakes [Chapman and Edwards] are in a provincial park [Tetrahedron Provincial Park] and it’s not a simple matter to change things,” Day said.