Here’s an overview of the previous consultations and what we have done as a result and an update on what we need to do next.
SURE WATER Phase I: SPRING 2013
In the spring of 2013 the City of Dawson Creek launched Phase I of the SURE WATER Campaign to inform and engage the public in discussion about water security in general, and four water supply options in particular. Options and their estimated capital costs included:
- Upgrading the existing water system ($16M)
- Building a new raw-water reservoir ($22M)
- Tapping into groundwater aquifers (cost unknown)
- Building a pipeline to the Peace or Murray River ($57M)
Through extensive consultation it became clear that residents preferred the pipeline option. Residents also showed their support for increased public education about water conservation, and their opposition to the use of fresh water for industrial purposes such as natural gas fracking.
In response, the City:
- Revised its water conservation bylaw to prohibit the use of water for fracking during periods of drought
- Introduced a policy that directs future industrial uses, such as fracking, to use reclaimed water from the Dawson Creek Reclamation Facility, and that also prohibits private truck fill stations from connecting to the City’s water system if they aren’t already licensed to do so
- Completed the Water Pipeline Funding Analysis (PDF Document) to explore how the pipeline option could be funded.
SURE WATER Phase II: SPRING 2014
In the spring of 2014 the City launched Phase II of the Sure Water campaign. The intent of Phase II was to continue the conversation about the future of the community’s water supply
- This year’s community consultation 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.
- As well, new information provided about population projections and raw water storage capacity at Bearhole Lake control weir (dam) showed that our current water supply has a longer lifespan than previously estimated.
- Given this new information, 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.
Next Steps: Water System Improvement 2014 – 2015
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 to ensure adequate water and water pressure for fire protection.
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.
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. Additional public updates will also be published to keep the community informed.
- For updates on this and other City topics, sign up for Dawson Creek News updates via email on the home page of our website at: dawsoncreek.ca
Thank you to everyone who provided their ideas and insights into our water security. We will update this page as more information becomes available.
SURE WATER: Water System Improvement Projects (2014 – 2015)
Water System Improvements Projects: Our Community Article
Water System Improvements Report to Council
SURE WATER Community Consultation Information (Phase II 2014)
SURE WATER Community Consultation Information (Phase I: 2013)