SURE WATER Outcomes
Earlier this year, Dawson Creek residents provided their input during Phase II of the SURE WATER community consultation. This year’s campaign provided more detailed information about the increase in costs to taxpayers to fund an additional water supply source, such as a pipeline to the Peace River. New information provided about population projections and raw water storage capacity showed that our current water supply has a longer lifespan than previously estimated. Results of the public consultation reflected a shift from Phase I, with less support for investigating a new water supply source at this time and increased concern about the affordability of a water supply upgrade and willingness to pay.
Water Improvement Projects
While an additional water supply will eventually be needed, in the meantime, there are other aspects of our water system that need more immediate attention and would be needed no matter where we get our water. These include increasing our water treatment capacity, storage and distribution to specific areas of our community.
This has come to Council’s attention more recently as requests for new developments in the south and west of our City place greater demands on the system than it can readily handle. The issue isn’t about water supply: it’s about getting the water to these areas with enough water and water pressure to meet fire protection flows.
In response, Council is concentrating on ensuring that the most urgent work goes first, in a way that does not compromise future options, and in keeping with the feedback received earlier this year about what people would be willing to pay. Specific water system improvements that are needed now would also be required regardless of the water supply source.
Request for Report
These projects were previously identified as necessary improvements in the City’s Water Quality Assurance Plan and Five-year Capital Budgets, and were temporarily put on hold pending the outcomes of the SURE WATER research and consultation. Now that there is general agreement that work on an additional water supply source can wait for the foreseeable future, Mayor and Council have asked staff to look at the costing and timelines to complete the following more urgent improvements to the water system:
- Upgrading the water treatment plant to increase the capacity necessary to handle current and future water sources
- Upgrading water distribution lines to accommodate increased water flows
- Expanding treated water storage capacity to ensure adequate water for fire protection
- Exploring funding sources that are currently available such as grants or Fair Share that could be used to offset the need to increase water rates to cover the costs.
Once the report is complete, it will be presented to Mayor and Council for consideration as another major step in the plan to ensure a clean, safe, and reliable source of water for decades to come.