Home Business & Economy Utilities Year-end snow boosted CRD water supply after dry fall

Year-end snow boosted CRD water supply after dry fall

CRD Regional Water Supply Commission Meeting - Jan 18, 2023 | Per capita water usage on slight uptick

sooke, reservoir
Sooke Lake Reservoir supplies 90% of the water distribution system needs in Greater Victoria. [file photo 2014 / CRD]

Wednesday January 18, 2023 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated 3:30 pm]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Thanks to snow and then ‘rain upon snow’, the Capital Regional District (CRD) water supply is in good shape.

As outlined at today’s CRD Regional Water Supply Commission Meeting, the level of the Sooke Lake Reservoir (which is the source of 90% of Greater Victoria’s/CRD water supply) was at 72% before the snowfall that started December 19, 2022.

traffic, snow, victoria
Traffic in snowy conditions on Hwy 17 (Pat Bay Highway) in Victoria on Dec 22, 2022. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Thanks to the snow melt and rain in late December and early January, the level went up to 83%, said CRD staff at today’s Commission meeting.

A week ago Monday the level was up to 85%, and then reached 89% at the beginning of this week.

“There will be water spillage in the future,” said Ian Jesney, CRD Acting General Manager, as part of regular reservoir level management.

crd, water, commission
Jan 18, 2023: first meeting of the CRD Regional Water Commission since the election of new mayors & councillors across the Greater Victoria region. [livestream]

Water usage as growth continues:

Presently about two-thirds of water usage in the Greater Victoria/CRD area is residential household use. The rest is used by industrial and commercial.

As reported by CRD staff today, there has been a slight decline in per capita water usage in recent years. This is thought to be a result of low flow toilets and other conservation aspects of new housing as the region grows.

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However, lately, overall, there’s “been a slow uptick” for water usage, which Jesney supposes might be due to freezers and cooling units which generate “big demand”.

More specifically on December 24 and 25 of this past Christmas season, water usage was higher than usual for those two days (as reported earlier this month at the January 3, 2023 Juan de Fuca Water Distribution Service meeting). That was thought to be an anomaly with people staying home instead of travelling due to snowy road conditions.

Water Watch:

The CRD publishes water levels each week as part of their Weekly Water Watch program.

water watch, crd, sooke, jan 2023
Weekly Water Watch, as at Jan 9, 2023. [CRD]

Sooke Lake Reservoir background:

The Sooke Lake Reservoir was given new capacity in 2004, says CRD CAO Ted Robbins, who headed up the CRD Integrated Water Distribution System for many years until becoming CAO in November 2022.

Robbins said that a report on fluctuating reservoir levels and the impacts of that on the Sooke River was done around 2014, with the results issued to the T’Sou-ke First Nation.

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Commission leadership:

The CRD Regional Water Supply Commission is chaired by Highlands Councillor Gord Baird, and the vice-chair (elected at today’s meeting) is North Saanich Councillor Celia Stock, who won the spot in a two-candidate vote over Saanich Councillor Zac de Vries.

gord baird, highlands
District of Highlands Councillor Gord Baird

Both Highlands and North Saanich are essentially fully rural areas, including tracts of forest and farm land.

Baird chose to have no official Remarks as chair today, in favour of allowing time for three presentations to the commission which has many new members following the October 2022 municipal elections across Greater Victoria.

Following the meeting, Baird stated in a CRD news release: “As the newly elected chair of the Capital Regional District’s Regional Water Supply Commission, I am honoured to take on the vital responsibility of securing a sustainable and dependable source of clean and safe drinking water for our ever-evolving region.”

“It is imperative that we proactively plan and adapt to meet the current and future needs of our community,” said Baird, who also chairs the Juan de Fuca Water Distribution Commission (which administers the drinking water distribution system for Colwood, Langford, Metchosin, View Royal, Sooke and parts of Highlands and the Juan de Fuca Electoral area).


About the commission:

The CRD Regional Water Supply Commission undertakes significant work to advance the priorities and areas of focus identified in the Regional Water Supply Strategic Plan.

That includes drinking water, population growth, climate change, education and engagement, drinking water transmission, capital investments and management of the water supply area.

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Island Social Trends is a local and regional news service in the west shore of south Vancouver Island.

This journalism service has been operating since 2008 in the west shore, under the direction of editor and publisher Mary P Brooke: first as MapleLine Magazine 2008-2010, then Sooke Voice News 2011-2013, then West Shore Voice News 2014-2020, then emerging fully online mid-2020 at islandsocialtrends.ca

mary p brooke
Mary P Brooke, Editor, Island Social Trends