FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The current water system works hard to meet the City’s needs and will struggle as consumption and water demands grow.
At the Committee of the Whole meeting, the ‘Long-Term Water Supply Plan’ was presented to Council by Peter Coxon of Urban Systems and Victor Shopland, General Manager of Integrated Services. The presentation outlined the current infrastructure, water use, projections, goals and future supply.
Current water pumps are getting tired and work that has been done previously to upgrade never brought them back to peak capacity. Victor Shopland, General Manager of Integrated Services, said, “There is less than a week of treated water in case something happens,” In regards to the holding tanks of reserved water. On average 410 litres of water are consumed per person per day in the City of Fort St. John.
The report said the City’s current wells located along the banks of the Peace River are slowly losing capacity and have higher operational costs than originally forecasted twenty years ago. Conservation measures that have taken place over the years such as metering and water efficient toilets have helped save a lot of years of having to build new infrastructure.
The current system does already rely on dipping into storage which is “a little Risky,” said Peter Coxon of Urban Systems. ‘This water should be held in reserves for fire or emergency.”
Further conservation measures could be implemented including possible water restrictions during the summer. A new industrial water reuse facility is also being built. The City received $5 million in grant money for the project, which should be completed in October of 2019.
Additional ways to improve or rebuild ways to collect water were presented in the plan. These included upgrading the current water source to looking at other water sources in the area such as Site C. All options presented came with their own sets of challenges yet in terms of Source Option Comparison chart the most favourable option would be a horizontal collection well.
City Staff will continue with community consultation before Council makes a final decision. Staff will also look at grants to help some of the expected costs.