Search on for new water supply for Abbotsford

Investigation into new sources to look at long- and short-term options to meet future water needs.

Abbotsford will investigate possible new water sources this year as the city prepares for substantial growth over the next 25 years.

Abbotsford will investigate possible new water sources this year as the city prepares for substantial growth over the next 25 years.

Investigations into a new water supply for Abbotsford and Mission are set to begin again, five years after the public overwhelmingly rejected a proposed new source at Stave Lake.

The Abbotsford Mission Water and Sewer Commission (WSC) has requested $200,000 in funding to look at “new source supply options” to be advanced to 2016. Previously, the WSC’s capital plan had envisioned the funding to be split equally between 2017 and 2018.

The urgency to increase the water supply has decreased in recent years thanks to conservation efforts, and the study is the first step in a process that will explore a range of short- and long-term alternatives.

Last summer saw hot temperatures trigger multiple water restrictions, but the water system was able to keep up with demand, operating at around 85 per cent capacity. In 2007, though, water usage neared the system’s capacity, and a subsequent master water plan suggested water demands would exceed supplies in three years, even with a water sprinkling ban in place.

That led to a proposed and controversial private-public partnership to develop a $291 million new source at Stave Lake, which voters rejected by a three-to-one majority. Mayor Henry Braun – then seeking a seat on council – was among those opposed.

Water usage has stayed relatively level over the past five years, even as the area’s population has increased. But with the WSC developing a new master plan, and with Abbotsford’s new Official Community Plan (OCP) envisioning another 60,000 people moving to the city, staff have suggested an examination of which new water sources can be tapped.

It’s also hoped that accelerating the timeline will put the city in line for grants to help fund whichever upgrades and new capital projects are proposed.

Details of the search for a new supply have yet to be worked out, but Peter Sparanese, the city’s general manager of engineering and utilities, said options previously suggested will be looked at again.

Given the success of conservation efforts, he suggested many of the options under review will be less dramatic than the Stave Lake concept.

“Sometimes you don’t need it all right now,” said Sparanese. “We may just incrementally and methodically get there.”

Sparanese credited the public’s water conservation efforts for helping ease the pressure on the system.

“We’re doing an amazing job on the water that we’re not using.”

The investigation will consider supply alternatives over a range of years, and will provide a cost-benefit analysis, and a list of pros and cons.

“As Mission and Abbotsford continue to grow, water system demand will also increase,” staff wrote. “Water conservation and network optimization projects can help to delay the requirement for new supply, but ultimately a new source will be required to support the growth projected in each municipality’s OCP.”

The provincial snow pack is currently well below normal, due largely to warm weather and accelerated melting through the first half of May.

The most recent snow survey and water supply bulletin from the province’s River Forecast Centre suggests snow packs are typical of mid-June conditions, with South Coast levels at 57 per cent of normal.

The centre said, “Seasonal forecasts from Environment Canada are indicating an increased likelihood of above-normal temperatures across British Columbia over the May to July period, and into the extended forecast period of the late summer months.”



Just Posted

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Mission students hold rally, say everyone welcome at school

Ecole Christine Morrison Elementary School hosted an Anti-Racism Day on June 15

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
Drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250-hectare wildfire in B.C.

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Dock has reportedly been unused for a long time

People in Metro Vancouver can expect to experience a short wave of heat just in time for Father’s Day, according to Environment Canada. (Black Press Media files)
Short-lived heatwave headed for Metro Vancouver this weekend

Temperatures are expected to be up to 10 degrees higher than average Sunday and Monday

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

Most Read