EDITORIAL: How about some close-to-home water solutions?

Residents in communities like Parksville and Nanoose Bay need to look more closely at cisterns, recycling grey water and even desalination

Yes, Parksville-Nanoose Bay needs a new water treatment plant. Island Health deems it so if the communities are going to continue to pull water out of the Englishman River.

While it remains frustrating to get edicts from a non-elected but seemingly all-powerful entity, it’s difficult to argue against water safety.

Yes, the scope, size and cost of the facility was a valid point for debate, but that argument is behind us now.

Yes, the people of Parksville will still get a say, through a referendum that will/will not allow Parksville to borrow the millions it needs for this new facility. The referendum may be an exercise in futility and a waste of taxpayer money, however, because it’s not like Parksville can say no, we will not treat this water.

All that stated, it’s time to think a little closer to home for water solutions. Like your backyard.

The Oceanside Development and Construction Association is hosting a water sustainability forum Wednesday night at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre.

Topics that night will likely include discussion about cisterns and other ways to gather rain water and use grey water on your property.

The time has definitely come for residents to lessen their reliance on the water grid. The time has also come for some specific information about how to do just that.

We hear a lot of talk about gathering rain water or using grey water. What we need — and we hope this comes at the forum Wednesday night — are specific instructions and information on how to set up these systems, how much they cost and where they are available for purchase. The time for theoretical discussion is long past — it’s time for specific information and action.

We also remain frustrated by the lack of discussion on desalination. Perhaps the cost of such systems is the stumbling block — some estimates have plants that could serve 100,000 people costing about $40 million — or perhaps it’s a bad idea to pull more water out of shrinking oceans.

Still, in a time when our cell phones have more computing power than a 1965 NASA computer the size of a house, surely we have the technology and the smarts to bring desalination more to the forefront of discussions about supplying communities with water.

— Editorial by John Harding

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