The present upgrade plan of the ERWS to provide water to Parksville and the RDN (Nanoose Bay) raises questions.
The proposed intake and treatment plant without some system to retain winter rainfall runoff from the Englishman River will do nothing to alleviate summer drought conditions. The controversial aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) scheme is an untested and expensive proposition, but the path the Parksville/RDN administrators seem determined to follow. (Note that no administrative ASR advocate has yet volunteered to lay their head on the chopping block if the ASR fails; or even if a mud bank collapses and clogs the proposed intake).
It has not escaped my attention on drives up the Island Highway through Qualicum Beach and Bowser that both the Little Qualicum and Big Qualicum Rivers seem to have heavier water flows than the Englishman. It’s not because of a lot more rain up there. It’s because they flow out of lakes — large water reservoirs. The only reservoir that the Englishman River has is the man-made Arrowsmith Lake.
Local concerned citizens have called for the creation of additional reservoirs on the Englishman at higher elevations, to capture the water rainfall runoff and store it for summer drought conditions. This makes a lot of sense. I also understand that both Island Timberlands and the DFO have no objection to the creation of such reservoirs above Englishman River Falls.
If constructed properly, water reservoirs serve a number of mutual interests. And the economics appear favourable, both in ultimate costs and the fact that the construction money would go to local contractors and not to expensive outside consulting firms. A community win-win all the way around.