Comox Lake Watershed Assessment – from Awareness to Action on Vancouver Island
The projected growth of Vancouver Island and resulting cumulative impacts are drivers for reassessing where and how land is developed, and water is used. To promote a new way-of-thinking related to infrastructure policies and practices, Convening for Action on Vancouver Island (CAVI) organized Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation on Vancouver Island: The 2007 Series.
The Comox Lake Watershed Assessment was one of four case studies featured as part of Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovatiion in the Comox Valley in October 2007. The event was co-hosted by the Comox Strathcona Reglonal District and the City of Courtenay.
Water Supply in the Comox Valley
The role of the Comox Strathcona Regional District (CSRD) is to provide a reliable source of safe, high-quality drinking water to homes and businesses within some of its member municipalities and electoral areas. This includes acquiring and maintaining the water supply, treating it to ensure quality, and delivering it-all at a reasonable cost.
The Regional District manages four water supply systems, including the Comox Valley Water System. Water originates in Comox Lake, is taken from the Puntledge River downstream of the lake, and delivered to over 40,000 people. This service population includes some 22,500 residents in the City of Courtenay and another 12,000 or so water users in the Town of Comox.
The supply source, Comox Lake, is a glacier-fed lake used for power generation by BC Hydro, maintenance of fish hatcheries by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, recreation by anglers, boaters and swimmers as well as the supply of potable water to over 40,000 people.
According to Graeme Faris, “Continued urbanization within the valley coupled with competing land uses and recreational interests within the watershed have led to shared concerns and co-operative actions aimed at managing watershed uses to ensure water quality is preserved.”
“Many people are surprised to learn that the Comox Lake source is an unprotected watershed,” observes Graeme Faris, “To address this issue and develop an action plan for the protection of this watershed, the CSRD initiated a Watershed Assessment for Comox Lake in 2006.”
“Working with the Vancouver Island Health Authority, the CSRD and other groups that use the watershed were able to propose actions to mitigate high level risks or threats to the current and future quality of the water,” adds Ron Neufeld, CSRD Senior Manager of Operational Services.
The CSRD recently completed a watershed assessment consistent with the provincial drinking water source to tap assessment guidelines. “Our presentation will provide an overview of how the range of interested parties – including numerous governments – have and are working co-operatively towards common watershed protection objectives,” reports Ron Neufeld.
For more information on Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in the Comox Valley, please click here.
Who is CAVI?
The CAVI Partnership comprises the British Columbia Water & Waste Association, the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, the provincial Ministries of Environment and Community Services, and the Green Infrastructure Partnership.
CAVI is co-funded by the Province and the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia. The Water Sustainability Committee of the BCWWA is the managing partner and is providing program delivery. For more information about the CAVI Partnership and what it wants to do, please click here.
Posted October 2007