Alberni council supports water conservation plan

Funding applications to improve Alberni's water supply are going ahead after city council re-affirmed support for a water conservation plan.

Port Alberni’s water supply is finite and a plan is needed to conserve and prudently use it, city engineer Guy Cicon said.

At council’s Monday meeting, councillors affirmed that provisions for the city’s water plan were adopted in the city’s five-year financial plan.

The commitment was required as part of funding applications to the Gas Tax Agreement’s General Strategic Priorities Fund and Innovations Fund for upgrades to the city’s water supply.

The plan will be underwritten with $40,000 from the engineering budget and will be completed this year.

Using less water would lower the city’s operating costs by using less pumping as well as less water and sewage treatment, Cicon said.

Water meters and a new rate structure are part of the plan, as will be public education, water saving devices, water accounting, and recycling measures.

“Our watershed isn’t finite. There’s not an unlimited supply of water,” Cicon said.

Cicon also made recommendations about more stringent watershed protection at council’s May 14 meeting

His report outlined five request made to the timber conglomerate.

In its first request, the city will ask for larger logging setbacks from water courses, ditches and lakes. It will also be asking for more stringent road building measures to decrease turbidity in the city’s water supply.

Some logging has been too close for comfort to the city’s facilities at China Creek and Lizard Lake.

Next, the city wants more stringent rainfall shut down criteria, Cicon said. Logging operations and travelling on roads during heavy rainfall contribute to turbidity, he added.

Also, increased watershed security and signage is on the list. The company has committed to working with the city on the access issue.

As well, officials are requesting increased water quality monitoring watershed wide. The city tests water quality manually, but needs to do more to pinpoint trouble spots, Cicon said.

Lastly, the city wants regular reports and an annual meeting about logging activities in the watershed. “When logging activity moves from one place to another we want to know,” Cicon said.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com