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Where Our Water Comes From

The City of Nanaimo receives it's water from the south fork of the Nanaimo River. Two dams were constructed in the watershed and are used to supply water to the members of the Water District and maintain downstream flow requirements for fish.

The South Fork Dam was constructed in 1930, as a concrete arch dam that impounds approximately 2 billion litres. The second, Jump Creek Dam was constructed in 1974 and impounds approximately 18 billion litres.

The reservoir catchment area is approximately 293 square kilometres. The land within the watershed is owned primarily by Weyerhaeuser Company Limited, and the lakes created by the two dams are owned by the City of Nanaimo.

The watershed is co-managed by the City of Nanaimo and Weyerhaeuser Company Limited. Management policies and regulations have been put into place to protect the water and it's quality.

Watershed access is restricted to valid permit holders who have passed a water quality screening program.

The water is transported to the Village of South West Extension and the City of Nanaimo via two parallel pipelines that start out as 750 mm and 1200 mm and travel approximately 20 kilometres to the city boundary. These mains have the ability to supply peak day flows of 240 megalitres (50 million gallons) per day.

The water is then distributed through approximately 30 kilometres of secondary supply systems to 8 balancing reservoirs located throughout the city. These reservoirs collectively contain approximately 100 million litres and act to maintain system pressures during peak hour flows. The city is currently using up to 80 million litres per day during peak summer flows.  Peak hour flows can exceed the daily average flows by two and a half times.Peak hour flows for the summer of 1998 were 1600 litres per second.

The water is disinfected by chlorine at treatment plants located in the Village of South West Extension and the City of Nanaimo.

Approximately 75% of the water reaches the customer by gravity. The City of Nanaimo also operates several pump stations that are used to supply water to higher elevations in the city or boost pressures during peak flows. The pump stations and reservoirs also act to give the system a safety factor for fighting fires and a back-up for possible system failures.

The distribution of water from the reservoirs to the consumers is provided by the City of Nanaimo and the Village of South West Extension through approximately 500km of distribution water mains.

The water system is monitored by telemetry on a 24 hour basis. Abnormal conditions are reported to the Public Works Department electronically and immediate action is taken to correct the condition.

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