In 2005, the City embarked on its Water Supply Strategic Plan, with the view to defining direction to deal with long range water supply decisions. Associated Engineering steered discussions with the major stakeholders, guided the overall development of the plan, and authored the report. The Water Supply Strategic Plan aligns with the Official Community Plan, and sets three major goals that guide ongoing and future water supply decisions. These goals are:
- Provide Safe Drinking Water
- Ensure a Sustainable Water Supply
- Provide Cost Effective Water Delivery
Among the many strategies and actions contained in the Water Supply Strategy, the three major goals for the long term sustainability of quantity and quality of water are:
- Construct a water treatment plant, using filtration, to exceed the Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines.
- Construct a third dam and reservoir on the South Fork of the Nanaimo River to ensure that there is water available in sufficient quantity far into the future.
- Continue to expand, upgrade and strengthen the water supply system, to ensure reliability.
Together, these three directions translate into about $225 Million in work over the next twenty years. Implementing the Water Supply Strategic Plan will be a proactive means of ensuring a sustainable high quality water supply for generations to come.
The City of Nanaimo has enough storage in the South Nanaimo River Watershed to last approximately 15 years with today's growth rate and water use restrictions.
To meet the demands of a growing community, the City is moving forward with the planning for a new dam and reservoir that will supply water for several generations. To meet changing regulations and public expectations, the City is planning a new water treatment plant to keep our water pure. We expect to build this plant within the next 5-7 years.
The costs of these two projects are significant and will require careful planning to determine the most cost effective means to address these issues and others related to the bulk supply of water.
Bulk domestic water is carried to the City of Nanaimo and its balancing reservoirs through large diameter steel and concrete cylinder pipelines. We are fortunate that most of the water is currently supplied by gravity. As the city grows a greater proportion of the water will be pumped and more balancing storage will be required to meet peak demands.
The bulk water supply system has approximately 80 kilometres of pipe ranging in size from 400 to 1200mm.
The system includes seven pump stations and seven balancing reservoirs. Over the next 3 to 10 years one new pump station and up to 4 new reservoirs will be required to keep up with demand.
The water supply structures used to supply the water system range in age from 10 to 90 plus years. Two of our oldest structures South Fork Dam and Number One Reservoir are 74 and 92 years old respectively. Number One Reservoir has received an extensive upgrade that has brought it up to current dam safety codes and has extended its life considerably. South Fork Dam is in excellent condition, however it just falls short of new Dam Safety Regulations and will require an upgrade. The work will likely take place in 4 to 5 years.
All indications are that supply mains are in good condition and they range in age from 12 to 50 years and the oldest sections of pipe will likely give another 20 to 30 years of service.
All of the balancing reservoirs have been painted and will require minimal service over the next 10 years.