ENGLISHMAN RIVER WATER SERVICE (ERWS): At the Parksville 2019 Symposium, Vaughan Figueira will elaborate on “A Balancing Act – Regional Bulk Water Supply Needs & Environmental Flow Requirements to Sustain Aquatic Resources” (Module B on Day One – panel vignette on “Watershed Health and You”)

Note to Reader:

On the field day preceding the Parksville 2019 Symposium, Vaughan Figueira will conduct a guided tour of the new river intake and water treatment plant serving the City of Parksville. These facilities are part of the Englishman River Water Service, a joint venture with the Regional District of Nanaimo. Below, background on the system is presented below as an orientation guide.

Vaughan is also a member of a 5-person panel that will prime delegates for a town-hall learning and sharing session that features the Englishman River watershed. The Englishman River ‘big picture’ story (endangered river, regional water source, Shelly Creek restoration) provides the backdrop for developing a shared understanding of what a Whole-System approach looks like, and what it would mean to reconnect hydrology and ecology.

Englishman River Watershed

Englishman River Water Service Joint Venture Agreement

“The Englishman River Water Service (ERWS) is a joint venture between the City of Parksville (74% share) and the Regional District of Nanaimo (26% share) formed to secure a bulk water supply from the Englishman River. Both jurisdictions need additional water intake capacity and improved surface water treatment,” explains Vaughan Figueira, Director of Engineering and Public Works, City of Parksville.

“The agreement describes the infrastructure (water intake and treatment plant) that will be cost shared by the two participants and contains language that provides an option for the Town of Qualicum Beach to join the agreement in the future.”

Water Supply Expansion

“There are many factors contributing to the need to expand the water supply infrastructure. Currently in the ERWS service area, over half the drinking water comes from wells. Well capacity has declined in a number of areas,” continues Vaughan Figueira.

“The Arrowsmith Dam was built to address uncertainty regarding the sustainability of groundwater supplies for present and future needs. The Englishman River water provided by the ERWS is intended to supplement groundwater supply and is currently only provided on a seasonal basis.

“The new water intake on the Englishman River, water treatment plant and water transmission system ensures a reliable year-round supplementary source of water to provide for higher drinking water quality standards.

“Treatment objectives include reduced turbidity and the risk of microbial contamination. The multi-barrier approach, filtration, ultraviolet light and chlorination, works to ensure safe healthy water is delivered to residents.”

To Learn More:

Detailed information about the Englishman River Water Service, including minutes and reports, may be viewed at www.englishmanriverwaterservice.ca

Guiding Philosophy

The ERWS comprises the 20-yr old Arrowsmith Dam, a new river intake (2018) and a water treatment facility (2019). System operation is guided by this statement:

“An environmentally sensitive use of water to improve fish habitat and domestic water supply”.

The impact of wetter winters and drier summers on the seasonal water balance creates operational challenges in sustaining environmental flows.

River Intake

“The location of a new water intake site is a major piece of the water supply puzzle. The location is of interest to many in our community and First Nations have a traditional link to the river,” states Vaughan Figueira.

“From a health perspective, a location further up the watershed is seen as beneficial while an intake as far down the river as possible can be viewed as the most beneficial approach for fisheries.

“Using a sustainable approach weighing environmental, financial and social factors and in consultation with Department of Fisheries and Oceans, health authorities, provincial fisheries and regulators, the best location for a river intake as approved by the province is just above Highway 19 on the right bank in Top Bridge Park. The intake is a river side inlet structure.”

Flow Releases from Arrowsmith Dam

Approximately 50% of the live storage volume behind the Arrowsmith Dam is provided for release of water during low natural river flows, to improve fisheries flow in the downstream reach of the Englishman River.

To Learn More:

Visit https://www.englishmanriverwaterservice.ca/future_plans.asp