A letter from the CVRD about our water system is enclosed with its October 2017, Semi-annual Water Invoice (CVRD 171011). The letter explains Saltair must install a filtration system for its Stocking Lake, surface-water source or find another water source. Three options are described: (1) Upgrade the Saltair water treatment plant to include a filtration system, (2) Combine water treatment facilities with the Town of Ladysmith or (3) Replace our surface-water source with a groundwater source. Under (2), Saltair would have to contribute to the cost of a new filtration plant and watermains and then purchase water from the Town of Ladysmith. The CVRD letter identifies (3) as the most cost-effective option provided groundwater can meet our needs.
While volunteers were collecting 628 signatures on the petition that asked the CVRD to conduct a referendum about spending Saltair tax and grant dollars on the old school building, residents expressed concerns about buying water from Ladysmith or replacing our proven, surface water source with an unproven, groundwater source. In effect, their view was Saltair has a proven, independent, reliable source of some of the best drinking water in the world and we should do whatever it takes to protect it.
On October 24, 2017, the Saltair Water Advisory Committee (“SWAC”) issued a Community Update (SWAC 171024). On pages 2 and 3, SWAC raises concerns about the unknown cost of combining treatment facilities with Ladysmith and about switching to groundwater. In part, the Update mentions:
- The cost of a combined Ladysmith-Saltair water treatment facility is unknown.
- The 980-meter water main connecting the Lantzville and Nanaimo systems cost $633,360.
- The cost of the Ladysmith filtration system might be $10 Million.
- Saltair has already invested millions of dollars in its own, independent water system.
- Saltair’s groundwater source might be on land subject to First Nations’ land claims.
- Groundwater filtration might be required in the future.
- Climate change might affect groundwater supplies.
- Other communities have not realized their anticipated groundwater supplies.
- The CVRD has not yet, this year, applied for grants to help Saltair install a filtration system.
There will be more news, further developments and public meetings. Please keep informed and participate.
“Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air and drink the water.” » Carl Sagan.