Water Matters: The Start of a Journey

Mar 19, 2015

Water is essential to all life forms. It sustains life, nourishes growth and provides energy. In 1993, the United Nations declared March 22 as World Water Day - a day to celebrate this invaluable resource. The theme this year is "Water and Sustainable Development." It is about how water connects everything in the world and how to manage it for future generations.

When pouring yourself a glass of water, taking a shower or watering your plants, do you find yourself wondering about the journey that water had to take? In honour of World Water Day, this is the first in a series on Nanaimo's water and how it gets to your tap.


Nanaimo is fortunate to have a very high quality water source from which to draw our potable water from. Our drinking water comes from the South Fork of the Nanaimo River. The South Nanaimo River Watershed consists of a large area (220 square kilometres) that is two and a half times the size of Nanaimo.

Before the water comes out of your tap it starts its journey at the Jump Lake reservoir, 22 kilometres southwest of Nanaimo. The dam that stores the water in Jump Lake was built in 1974 and the reservoir can hold up to 16.6 billion litres of water at its full storage level - that's enough to supply every household in the City of Nanaimo with water for one year. However, not all the water is used for drinking.  More than half this water is released to the Nanaimo River to augment low summer flows to preserve fisheries and recreation. City staff visit Jump Lake on a daily basis to test and check water levels and maintain infrastructure to ensure quality and supply.


The picture above shows a beautiful, calm day at Jump Lake where the water looks like glass. This isn't always the case.  The upper watershed receives 3-4 times the precipitation that we see on the coast, and can get quite stormy.   


For more information on your drinking water check out the City website.


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