There is a definite need for upgrades to the Town of Lake Cowichan’s water system, the town’s superintendent of Public Works Nagi Rizk said.
Water supply issues came up during the town’s Tuesday, March 1, Public Works Committee meeting, in response to a letter sent in by Lake Cowichan Fire Department chief Doug Knott.
In his letter, Knott wrote that the 100 Houses and AB Greenwell school area in town has inadequate water supply for a major fire.
“When we hold a practice in that area, using less than what we would in a fire, it takes no time for us to drain that water system and cause problems for homeowners in the area,” he wrote.
The Slopes has also been problematic, Knott wrote, with not enough water pressure available to put out a fire.
“The membership has brought these concerns forward, as not only are we putting homeowners, land and property at risk, but we are further endangering our firefighters if we have water supply issues or run out of water during an incident/fire in one of these areas,” he wrote.
“It is the part of town suffering the most from lack of water,” Rizk said, of the 100 Houses area of town. “That is due to the higher elevation, age and small size of the existing water mains.”
Rizk cited a report he prepared for the town in 2006, which states that water distribution is meeting the old standards of 550 USgpm or 35 litres per second, in most areas of town. However, the town does not meet the new standards of 60 litres per second for single family residential and 90 litres per second for apartments.
“The Slopes area, on the other hand, is meeting the requirement, using a custom built booster station, and future phases will be supplied by a new water reservoir, Rizk said.
“There’s nothing we can do except replace the water line,” he said, adding that in 2006, the cost of such a project was estimated to be $5 million. “I would like to see the water system upgraded, but that is a big task.”
“I’m starting to see an end of life on our water lines,” councillor Bob Day said.
Continuing to put off saving money for the town’s water infrastructure would be a mistake, he said, as it’s wasted fund-raising time for a project guaranteed to be required in the future.
“We do upgrades as we go,” Rizk assured mayor and council, though a sweeping town update would be best.