Sunshine Coast Regional District is looking at using water from the Gibsons aquifer to supplement water supply from Chapman Creek
By Margot Grant
A confrontation is shaping up between the town of Gibsons and the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) over the aquifer that supplies the town’s water, and Gibsons Mayor Wayne Rowe calls it “a much greater threat to the aquifer than anything we have ever heard before.”
He made the comment at the November 7 council meeting.
The Sunshine Coast Regional District is looking at using water from the Gibsons aquifer to supplement the water supply from Chapman Creek.
Gibsons council plans to tell the SCRD it does not support any investigative drilling until a joint groundwater-management plan has been adopted. A meeting between the town and the SCRD is planned for later this month; in the meantime, Rowe has asked staff to determine what options the town has if the SCRD were to proceed with drilling.
On October 19, the SCRD infrastructure service committee and staff presented a report indicating four sites for potential groundwater production: Mahan Road in Gibsons; Gray Creek on Sechelt Inlet Road; Soames/Granthams next to the Soames Point reservoir; and Chapman/Sechelt on Dusty Road. The sites were selected by SCRD consultant Waterline Resources Inc.
The town is not worried about the Soames/Granthams site because it is likely not hydraulically connected to the Gibsons aquifer.
The aquifer supplies almost 75 per cent of Gibsons’ drinking water. Although the town had an aquifer-mapping study done in 2013, the capacity of the aquifer is unknown, said director of engineering Dave Newman.
It takes 10 years for one drop of water to trickle down from the mountain, which is considered fast in geological terms, added Newman. The town wants a long-term study to monitor the effects of increased population and consumption: the town is slated to grow to 10,000 residents, while the aquifer is thought to have sufficient capacity for 7,300 people. Drawing water out of the aquifer for SCRD use could seriously impact the town’s ability to supply enough water for its own population, town staff wrote in a report to council.
Gibsons chief administrative officer Emanuel Machado said that the town’s aquifer-mapping study was discussed with the SCRD in 2013, and he is surprised the SCRD would be interested in drawing water from the aquifer.
Newman noted the SCRD had not engaged the town in its groundwater investigation. “We don’t know how much consideration was given to the town’s water supply,” he said.We hope you found this post interesting. Your donation will help us provide independent news in our community. Thank you.