Port Alberni’s low water consumption and monitoring of their water system makes the city stand out from the pack, Mayor Mike Ruttan said on Monday (Sept. 28) night.
“Last week at the Union of B.C Municipalities convention in Vancouver, Port Alberni was seen as a bit of a leader in terms of water usage and monitoring our water consumption,” said Ruttan.
City engineer Guy Cicon said that it’s not a reputation that the city has gained by accident.
“We’ve been working on this for a number of years,” said Cicon.
He pointed to the city’s new water and sewer rate structure, which instead of rewarding high usage with a bulk rate, penalizes it with a higher one.
“The water and sewer rate structure that we adopted recently are conservation-based structures,” said Cicon.
“It’s what we need to do to show that we are managing our resources as wisely as we can.”
That approach, Cicon said, positively influences the city’s chance of receiving senior government grant money.
“It all started some years ago when we started to recognize our challenges with our water and sewer system… senior levels of government want to support and recognize local governments’ efforts to conserve resources.”
The lifting of water restrictions on Sept. 28 was indicative of the city’s confidence in its water system, Cicon added.
“Our lake reservoirs recovered quite quickly after the recent rain and that gave us a lot of confidence in our supply.”
Water consumption also dropped, both due to the cooler weather and residents’ commitment to water conservation measures.
“We started in the spring with 17,000 cubic metres a day and we were going down 10 per cent, 20 per cent, sometimes 30 per cent, bringing us down to around 14,000 cubic metres a day,” Cicon said. Average daily residential usage per capita is 254 litres a day; according to a 2009 Environment Canada report, that compares favourably to the Canadian average of 335 litres per capita daily.