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Municipal/regional water supply discussion


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#21 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 08:16 PM

Speaking of Australia, [url=http://www.waterwall.com.au/:e2c0b]these "Waterwalls"[/url:e2c0b] are kinda ugly-looking in an overdetermined sort of way (like the brickwork on the Centennial Square parkade, or View Street Tower's!), but they're what an Australian company recommends for your average urban] home...

My biggest pet peeve is Bear Mountain: not a single rainwater collection system in sight, not even friggin' rainbarrels, and then they get incentives (or whatever) to hook up to the municipal water supply ...so they can water the effing golf course! That's just not right... :roll:
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#22 Icebergalley

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 09:07 PM

When Parkside was delayed at the end of 2005, and into early 2006, a massive amount of water collected in the excavation.. It took quite a bit of time to pump it out and send it into the storm sewer system...

Now that thy are building it, a # of large sumps and a below basement slab collection system is being installed...

Wonder what they will do with the ground water.. just pump it away into the storm drainage system?

I recall about 4 years ago (drought summer ?) the PCC attempted to drill a well at St. Ann's to water the lawns and other vegetation..

Perhaps Parkside and the PCC will get together and use the ground water for irrigation purposes.. might even sell it to the PCC..

#23 G-Man

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 06:29 AM

I know this has been percolating over the years but when it comes down to it that is a pretty huge pricetag for somethjing that reallly just fell out of the air and that no one seems to gripe about at all. So why does this work but if you want to spend money on sewage treatment or transit people freak?

CRD spends $59M to increase protected watershed
it'll cost you $23 every year; Region pays TimberWest $58.9 million for Sooke land; also will create park
Kim Westad, Times Colonist
Published: Thursday, August 09, 2007
The regional water commission almost doubled its watershed yesterday in a $58.9-million deal with TimberWest that will cost the typical household $23 a year.

The move, intended to protect the Capital Regional District's water supply for future generations, adds 8,791 hectares of land at Leech River north of Sooke to the existing 10,000-hectare watershed at the Sooke Lake Reservoir.

"In terms of water, this will be the most significant development this century," said Regional Water Supply commission chairman Nils Jensen.

The CRD also bought another 932-hectare parcel east of the Sooke Potholes Regional Park from TimberWest Forest Corp. to create a new regional park and expand the Sea-to-Sea Green Blue Belt, southern Vancouver Island's ecological highway of protected park wilderness connecting the Sooke Basin to Saanich Inlet. The CRD picked up $5.3 million of the $5.8-million price tag, with the Land Conservancy of B.C. contributing the remaining $500,000.

The park acquisition won't cost taxpayers anything, because it's being paid for out of a fund previously generated by a $10 levy. But the cost of the $58.9-million watershed will be reflected in the price homeowners pay for water.

It's expected to add about $23 to the average annual water bill, which now ranges from $200 to $300 per household. But Jensen points out the increase can be reduced by using less water.

The CRD decided to buy the land now, even though it won't need the Leech River watershed, much of which has been logged at one time or another, for at least 15 years. The Sooke River Reservoir is currently adequate for the 320,000 households it serves.

But Jensen said it pays to be well prepared when it comes to water, especially in a time of population growth and climate change. "The deal means that our children and grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren will continue to have a safe and secure water supply," he said. "If you don't have a source, as we've seen in other communities, you have a problem."

The CRD is one of the few areas in North America that actually owns the land its water comes from, said water services manager Jack Hull. That means the watershed can be protected, as the Sooke Reservoir is, and water quality can be controlled. If the land isn't protected, the water needs an expensive filtration system.

The Leech River watershed has long been in the CRD's sights. But the region thought that by the time it was needed and available for sale, a $150-million filtration system would be required to clean the water because it comes from land that is unprotected. Such a system would also require $3 million each year to run it.

Instead, the land became available for sale now. Purchasing it now gives the region a chance to protect the logged land -- to let nature take its course over the next decades without interference from humans.

When trees and forest cover are allowed to grow without disturbance, water quality tends to improve dramatically.

Much of the Leech River watershed has been logged over the last decade, including a portion last logged in June. Should the forestry strike end before the deal closes at the end of the year, that land could be logged again, Hull said.

Negotiations between the CRD and TimberWest have been ongoing for about six months, said TimberWest executive vice-president Bev Park.

A tunnel already connects the Leech River to the Sooke River Reservoir. It was built in the 1980s, in anticipation of growing demand for water. Because of the lower quality of water in the Leech River, the tunnel hasn't been put into service.




© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2007

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#24 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 08:20 AM

^ Pricetag for above: $23/year

Sewage Treatment pricetag: completely unknown.

That's why peoploe are up in arms about sewage treatment.






A project near Town & Country gave FREE bus passes to all its residents - they were barely used. That's why people are up in arms about transit spending - most people don't use transit.
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#25 G-Man

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 11:41 AM

^ however you charge UVic students a minor amount and there usuage is upwards of 65% now. So perhaps if they hadn't been free?

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#26 Holden West

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 10:54 PM

VICTORIA COUNCILLOR SLAMS C.R.D. WATERING RULES

C-FAX News
Sep 19, 2007

A MEMBER OF THE CAPITAL REGIONAL DISTRICT'S WATER SUPPLY COMMISSION IS RAISING QUESTIONS ABOUT THE NEED FOR MANDATORY WATERING RESTRICTIONS FROM MAY TO SEPTEMBER.

VICTORIA COUNCIL MEMBER GEOFF YOUNG IS SPEAKING OUT AS THE C.R.D. LOOKS INTO IRRIGATION REGULATIONS FROM MORE THAN FIFTY OTHER NORTH AMERICAN CITIES RANGING FROM SECHELT, BC TO ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO.

THE REGIONAL GOVERNMENT IS LOOKING FOR IDEAS WHICH COULD BE ADOPTED HERE IN THE FUTURE.

THE 'REVIEW OF LANDSCAPE ORDINANCES REPORT' HAS BEEN A PROJECT OF THE WATER ADVISORY COMMITTEE -- A RESEARCH AND DISCUSSION BODY WHICH MAKES RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE WATER COMMISSION, WHICH IN TURN RECOMMENDS ACTION TO THE C.R.D. BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

IT'S MERELY A SURVEY AT THIS POINT -- AT PRESENT, NO CHANGE IS BEING CONSIDERED TO THE WATERING RULES FOR GREATER VICTORIA.

YOUNG SAYS IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE TO REGULATE LAWN WATERING IN OUR CLIMATE, AND SAYS DOING SO MAY IN FACT ENCOURAGE WATER WASTE.

"I THINK THERE MAY WELL BE CASES WHERE PEOPLE ARE WATERING BECAUSE IT'S THEIR EVENING," YOUNG SAYS. HE THINKS SOME HOMEOWNERS MAY WATER ON THEIR DESIGNATED DAY WHETHER IT'S NEEDED OR NOT.


"WE SHOULD GIVE PEOPLE A LITTLE MORE RESPECT, WE SHOULD TEACH THEM ABOUT HOW MUCH WATER LAWNS NEED -- I THINK THAT'S TOTALLY APPROPRIATE," YOUNG SAYS.

YOUNG SAYS ONE SHOULD BE CAREFUL COMPARING VICTORIA WITH PLACES IN CALIFORNIA AND ARIZONA.

"WE DO HAVE TO KEEP CONSERVATION IN MIND," HE SAYS. "WE HAVE TO WATER SENSIBLY, WE HAVE TO LANDSCAPE SENSIBLY -- BUT AT THE SAME TIME, BEING SENSIBLE DOESN'T MEAN ACTING AS IF WE WERE IN A DESERT. THERE ARE DIFFERENT KINDS OF LANDSCAPING THAT ARE APPROPRIATE HERE."

YOUNG SAYS THERE ISN'T MUCH SUPPORT ON THE C-R-D WATER BOARD TO CHANGE THE CURRENT REGULATIONS (TWO ASSIGNED DAYS OF LAWN WATERING PER WEEK, MAY TO SEPTEMBER).

THE SOOKE LAKE RESERVOIR IS AT 70-PERCENT CAPACITY -- IT ROUTINELY SPILLS OVER DURING THE RAINY MONTHS.

"I THINK MAYBE WE AREN'T GIVING PEOPLE ENOUGH CREDIT FOR INTELLIGENCE AND PARTICIPATION IN OUR ISSUES," SAYS YOUNG. "WHEN WE HAVE PERIODS WHEN WE AREN'T FILLING THE DAM, WHEN WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH WATER, THEN I THINK IT'S APPROPRIATE TO INTRODUCE WATERING RESTRICTIONS. BUT ALL THE TIME? I'M NOT CONVINCED THAT'S THE BEST WAY TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO WATER SENSIBLY."

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#27 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 09:46 PM

There's an interesting article in today's Toronto Star, The high cost of using less water, that suggests that conserving water reduces the revenue generated for municipalities (i.e., citizens pay less to the muni b/c they're using less water), which in turn pinches the municipality's budget -- sometimes significantly.

IMO, it points more the skewed & absurd tax structures / incentives (absence thereof) than to conservation issues, but it's an interesting conundrum, nonetheless: that consuming less represents a decrease in monies (raised through usage fees, levies, taxes, whatever) available, and in turn can cause, if not a fiscal crisis, at least a situation of fiscal distress.

Here's an excerpt from the article, which gives an idea of how precarious the situation of municipal infrastructure funding is:

They've done all the right things, he says, 70 per cent for economic reasons and 30 per cent for environmental reasons.

But that win-win sentiment belies an inconvenient truth – one that came out in a recent unguarded comment from Durham Region's works czar, Cliff Curtis. Asked about declining water consumption, he told the Star:

"Conservation is killing us."

Realizing what he'd just said, Curtis smiled broadly and quickly added that there were, of course, a thousand reasons to conserve.

But one thing is certain: Conservation is putting cash-strapped municipalities in a bit of a pickle.

Tougher post-Walkerton regulations, growing communities and a rising backlog of crumbling pipes needing to be fixed are driving up costs even while diligent consumers are lowering their consumption and the size of their bills.

Toronto alone is facing about $800 million worth of repair and replacement work, since half of the city's water mains and 30 per cent of its sewer pipes are more than 50 years old. But last year, total revenue was only $604 million.

Other regions are hurting, too.

Peel Region treasurer Dan Labrecque estimates his region has lost $7 million to so-called "revenue or billable flows shortfall." The need to make up for that lost money accounts for nearly half of Peel's proposed 16 per cent water rate hike (expected to be phased in at 12.5 per cent).

"A number of factors are contributing to this, including the success of our water consumption (reduction) efforts," said Labrecque. "We've pointed it out to council saying, here's the trend, we don't know if it's a sustainable trend, or whether it's an adjustment because of changes, the Al Gore movie and all that kind of stuff."
http://www.thestar.c.../article/297647


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#28 G-Man

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 10:05 PM

That is one of the main reasons that you always hear about recycle and reuse but never hear the most evil of the three R's - Reduce.

It is not just bad for munis but for anyone trying to bring in a buck.

I mean hydro is happy to have us use less electricity but that is just because they can sell it somewhere else. However in general big business does not want us to reduce.

I personally do what I can but I am no angel. I have gone two Buy nothing days now with actually buying nothing and I do try to pick products that will last longer even if they cost more rather than buy a chepie at a dollar store but this of course makes me two steps from satan from a neo-liberal perspective because I am not doing my part for the GDP and still it is not enough. Oh well baby steps.

#29 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 10:35 PM

That is one of the main reasons that you always hear about recycle and reuse but never hear the most evil of the three R's - Reduce.

It is not just bad for munis but for anyone trying to bring in a buck.

I mean hydro is happy to have us use less electricity but that is just because they can sell it somewhere else. However in general big business does not want us to reduce.

I personally do what I can but I am no angel. I have gone two Buy nothing days now with actually buying nothing and I do try to pick products that will last longer even if they cost more rather than buy a chepie at a dollar store but this of course makes me two steps from satan from a neo-liberal perspective because I am not doing my part for the GDP and still it is not enough. Oh well baby steps.


Residential electricity costs could jump by hundreds of dollars annually by 2011, driven by a projected 25 per cent hike in rates and aggressive conservation measures, according to B.C. Hydro documents.


http://www.canada.co...a3-3dbe2af5f4ff

#30 G-Man

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 09:33 AM

Huh... So even Hydro wants you to use more.

#31 Mike K.

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 10:26 AM

Sounds like Hydro wants us to use less while raising are rates. Good money making strategy for them, I suppose.

Does BCH's near future include a sell off into private hands? Sure seems like it given the company's strategy of raising rates and increasing supply to other markets.

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#32 Fergus

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 04:01 AM

I find it surprising that this thread hasn't touched on the public safety concerns inherent in shifting water to an open commodity market. Most likely, we'd see an increase in acquisitions of watershed land and infrastructure by private companies, and the profit motive can influence some unscrupulous profiteers to cut corners on public safety. Also I expect costs would balloon from all the ensuing regulations, new infrastructure, and review and enforcement.

I sense an ideological slant to the articles quoted in this thread. It's a myth that free markets are the solution to every problem. They are extremely well suited to some uses, but one needs to be circumspect. There are things better suited to being managed as a public resource, and water is one of them.

Consider that a free market on water would mean that the wealthy can water their lawns everyday, driving up water prices for everyone. The poor could then have to contend with the result. And what would happen to the homeless, who have no capacity to pay for water at all nor a convenient way to receive government assistance to pay for water? What happens when being able to afford a verdant lawn in the mid-summer becomes a status symbol because only the wealthy have the means? More wealthy folks watering their lawns, and higher prices for people who are trying to cope with the bare necessities.

Let's also keep in perspective the industrial users of water. Need we drive even more of our farmers off their land by increasing their water prices, thus further undermining our already insufficient food security?

There's no question that reducing our water use is a pain. Reduction implies some level of sacrifice, but in a way, the current use of water restrictions has the potential to serve as a useful population control. When a population encounters water restrictions, it means that the availability of cheap, clean water is being stressed. If those people most able to afford to go somewhere else where the local water supply is better able to cope move away, there's a certain logic in that. Not every human endeavour should be framed as a contest with nature. Human expansion does not need to be endless.

I like some of the suggestions made here for better managing and planning our water supply. We don't need drinking grade water for our lawns or toilets or power washing, so having alternative water sources that are not potable grade makes a lot of sense. Using grey water for some purposes is also a sensible idea.

I'm not for the status quo, but I do think privatizing the water supply is grossly simplistic and likely to have serious ramifications. Instead, let's look at developing greater efficiencies and doing more public education. There are so many ways that drinking water is wasted it boggles the mind.

#33 G-Man

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 07:34 AM

^ I couldn't agree more. Privatized water is just wrong.

#34 Nparker

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 09:15 AM

I'm not for the status quo, but I do think privatizing the water supply is grossly simplistic and likely to have serious ramifications. Instead, let's look at developing greater efficiencies and doing more public education. There are so many ways that drinking water is wasted it boggles the mind.


Right you are Fergus. Perhaps the good folks at CRD Water might clue in to this idea as well. Watering restrictions are only part of the solution. As you say, we currently use drinking grade water for all H2O purposes in the region, and this is simply not a sustainable practice anymore. This in an instance where thinking "outside the box" (as much as I loathe that expression) makes good sense. As long as privatized water is not sitting outside that box of course.

#35 Fergus

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 09:25 AM

Honestly, the wasting of drinking water on such activities as lawn watering smacks of immorality. It's true enough that water is not scarce -- but potable water certainly is. According to Wikipedia:

40% of the world's inhabitants currently have insufficient fresh water for minimal hygiene. More than 2.2 million people died in 2000 from waterborne diseases (related to the consumption of contaminated water) or drought.


Meanwhile, we water our lawns with the water they could drink.

#36 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 10:43 AM

^ I couldn't agree more. Privatized water is just wrong.


Why? The food system is private, why should water be any different?

#37 Fergus

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 11:24 AM

The food system involves private producers, but it is highly regulated and by no means a free market. There are no fewer than seven federal departments related to agriculture. According to Robert L. Thompson in an article for the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, "Most governments around the world intervene actively in the operation of their agricultural markets." Canada and the US, among others, are used as examples. Given this, it's wrong to suggest that privatizing the water supply and moving it to a free market is in anyway analogous to our food supply.

#38 gumgum

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 11:58 AM

^^If you want private water just buy the bottled stuff.
I'll stick to my government regulated tap water, thanks.

#39 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 12:07 PM

The food system involves private producers, but it is highly regulated and by no means a free market. There are no fewer than seven federal departments related to agriculture. According to Robert L. Thompson in an article for the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, "Most governments around the world intervene actively in the operation of their agricultural markets." Canada and the US, among others, are used as examples. Given this, it's wrong to suggest that privatizing the water supply and moving it to a free market is in anyway analogous to our food supply.


End-of-supply-chain food is not subsidized. Of course it is regulated, inspected, and there are farm subsidies etc. and that keeps it safe. But our water supply chain is run entirely by government. Why does it make sense for water (vital for life) when we don't let the government run the (heating) energy, clothing or food system (all vital for life)?

#40 Holden West

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 12:22 PM

Because of this.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

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