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Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink

Ron Wilson fills his truck with metered water at Sooke River and Sooke Roads. Potable water will cost more for residents in rural areas who need trucked in water for household use. - Pirjo Raits
Ron Wilson fills his truck with metered water at Sooke River and Sooke Roads. Potable water will cost more for residents in rural areas who need trucked in water for household use.
— image credit: Pirjo Raits

Many rural residents in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area are dependent on potable water delivery. They have no access to CRD water and rely on wells, cisterns and above ground water sources.

Rural residents, without sufficient water year round, rely on trucked in water during the drier months in the year. According to the Otter Point and Shirley Resident Ratepayers Association (OPSRRA) newsletter six per cent of their members, which encompasses the rural areas of Otter Point, Shirley, Jordan River, rely on water delivery for all their water requirements and a further 30 per cent rely on it to supplement their well water or water licences.

They have to purchase water from the only water supply company in the region and with a recent decision by the Juan de Fuca Water Commission to disallow water truck access to water hydrants in Sooke, it will raise the cost of 2,800 US gallons of water by $40-50.

The company, South Island Water Ltd., states their delivery times and fill up time will take longer thereby necessitating an increase in water delivery fees.

The Juan de Fuca Water Commission buys water from the Capital Regional District for resale to rural communities. The JdFWC then sells the water to the water supply company. Juan de Fuca Regional Director Mike Hicks was at the water commission meeting where the CRD gave a verbal report on the issue.

“I spoke strongly against their suggestion, and in favour of South Island Water,” said Hicks. “I want a full debate at the next meeting.”

The next meeting of the JdFWC will be in the new year.

“My argument is the facts. We have more than 600 families dependent on water, that’s more than the population of the Highlands. I have offered to pay the Juan de Fuca Water Commission with our gas tax, to put a (water) station in East Sooke and at the end of the Sooke water line.”

He said those stations would be dedicated to potable water providers. The CRD has concerns, said Hicks and one of them is about how much water the providers are taking.

He said South Island Water can put meters on their trucks and they could deal with all of the concerns JdF water would have.

“We want to be able to provide potable water to rural areas… as close to the market as possible and be as affordable as we can,” said Hicks.

Hicks said Councillor Herb Haldane, who also sits on the water commission, said “we’ll look into it.”

Hicks feels this is a big issue and they have the water.

“I’m very cognizant we can address all of the JdF Water Commission’s water concerns,” Hicks stated.

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