The Englishman River and its reservoir at Lake Arrowsmith will be among the areas under review in the Regional District of Nanaimo’s water supply study. — J.R. Rardon photo

Staff updates RDN board on watershed protection program

The program was started in 2008 to address concerns about water in the region.

Protecting the region’s water resources is of paramount importance in the regional district.

And to ensure that specific action is undertaken to improve and protect water quality and availability, the Regional District of Nanaimo is currently monitoring and collecting valuable data at different water resources in the region. It was started in 2008 to address concerns about water in the region.

The results of the Drinking Water and Watershed Protection (DWWP) progam will assist the RDN in water management decisions as well as promoting and enabling water conservation region-wide. It will save future infrastructure costs that are associated with degraded water resources.

The initiative will also result in cost savings for taxpayers as it may lead to reduced demand for water in the different communities; deferring and reducing infrastructure expansion costs; direct financial support to residents through rebate programs; economic spin-offs from supporting innovation in the water sector; leveraging additional funds to support program activities as a result of effective partnerships; and long-term protection of property values arising from better land use decision-making that considers local water information.

DWWP coordinator Julie Pisani presented an update on the work that has been completed or is underway in the service area.

It includes expanded water monitoring and data collection in priority areas, including 16 new volunteer observation wells — five in the French Creek Water Region, five in the Nanoose Water Region, and six in the Cedar-Yellowpoint Water Region. There are also seven additional stream-level monitoring stations at Nanoose Creek, Englishman River, and Holden Creek.

Dialogue on collaborative, watershed-based decision-making is also being conducted by holding a series of regular meetings involving the DWWP Technical Advisory Committee and stakeholders.

Direct support and training to stewardship groups have also been initiated, the RDN states. There are 14 groups in 17 watersheds that have been trained and equipped to monitor surface water quality. There are also two groups in two watersheds that are trained to perform physical stream assessments and five groups on five creeks to undertake stream enhancement such as riparian planting.

The state of the region’s aquifers, and current monitoring activities and trends, will be reported and communicated through a public newsletter that will be mailed out in October.