Mid-Town Water Supply Upgrades

The Mid-Town Water Supply Upgrades Project will construct two large water pipelines to replace the aging and undersized current infrastructure that transmits potable drinking water to the central and northern areas of the City.

The proposed new Primary Transmission watermain will deliver potable treated water from a connection point at College Drive near the Nanaimo Parkway to the Labieux Road pump station. 

The proposed Secondary Transmission watermain will deliver potable treated water along Bowen Road from Pryde Avenue to East Wellington Road, along East Wellington to the Nanaimo Parkway, then the watermain will have the same alignment as the new Primary to the Labieux Road pump station. 

The project will be completed in two phases over the next few years and will construct two new water supply pipelines, for the mid-town of the City’s water supply, a primary and a secondary, upgrades to the Labieux Pump Station and to the distribution watermains within the East Wellington Road / Bowen Road / James Way area of the City.

Phase 1

The proposed large diameter water supply transmission main will deliver potable treated water from the College Heights Reservoirs to the Labieux Road pump station.

With the proposed construction of the new transmission main along the east side of the Nanaimo Parkway, an opportunity exists to build a trail over top of the water main which will further enhance the community's walk-able pedestrian network.

900 M water main shown below future 4m wide multi purpose pedestrian trail


This new trail will provide a strong connection from the E&N Trail to the Nanaimo Parkway Trail.   This will further strengthen the City's trailway network connections to VIU, Westwood, Colliery Park, Buttertubs Marsh, Millstone, West Land Marsh and beyond.

Phase 2

Once Phase 1 is complete and the new Primary Transmission watermain is operational, the existing water supply main on Bowen Road, from Pryde Avenue to Labieux Road, will be completely replaced with the completion of the proposed Secondary Transmission watermains. Upgrades of the City’s distribution watermains and pressure reducing stations will also be constructed as part of Phase 2 in the East Wellington Road / Bowen Road / James Way area of the City.



  • Increased water supply to the City to accommodate future growth and improved firefighting capabilities.
  • Improved strength and reliance of the water supply system in the mid-town section of the City.
  • Improved water quality to all water consumers.
  • Enhanced operation and ability to efficiently deliver on ever increasing water demands.
  • A new watermain utility project aligned with a new multi-purpose trail for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Progress

    July 2021

    The preliminary design is currently under way for the water supply transmission mains. Detailed Design to commence in the fall 2021. Construction to start in 2022. 

    March 2021

    Koers and Associates Engineering Limited have been hired to carry out a preliminary assessment of the proposed pipeline alignment and to prepare a preliminary pipeline design.

    Ground surveys of the proposed pipe alignment for Phase 1 started at the end of March 2021. Phase 2 surveys started in June 2021. 

    November 2020

    The City consulted with the Provincial Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure to ascertain the viability of following the Nanaimo Parkway as a proposed pipeline alignment route.

    October 2020

    City staff outlined eight possible pipeline alignments and held a workshop with operations and management staff in Engineering, Public Works, Construction, Development Control, Real Estate and Parks to review, inform and discuss the merits of each option. Staff were then asked to review the eight possible alignments and assess them on their merits.

    The consensus of opinion was that the alignment following the east side of the Nanaimo Parkway was the most favorable option.

  • Documents
  • Details
  • Background
    bowen rd ws pipe break 1

    The City of Nanaimo suffered the first significant failure of a primary water supply pipeline in Bowen Road on April 3, 2020 that resulted in a loss of 22 million litres of water.

    Impacts of this water loss included: three water reservoir tanks being drained, Nanaimo Regional General Hospital also lost water to the top floor and the watermain break left thousands or residents and businesses without water. The cost to repair this watermain break, and clean up the resulting damage, was $250,000.

    Circumstances could have been considerably worse but fortunately there were very few vehicles or pedestrians on the road and a lot of businesses were closed following covid restrictions and a 'stay at home' provincial health order.

    Once excavated and exposed the condition of the pipe revealed other leaks and a complete structural failure of the existing concrete pipe and the consequence of future failures is an extreme risk to the City's potable water supply.

    bowen rd water supply pipe break

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