Jul 12, 2024

FAQs and Fun Facts


What measures are in place to protect our watershed and river levels from drought conditions?
There are various gauges throughout the system such as snow pillow, dam and river levels. Operators monitor and adjust the valves at the dam to ensure adequate water is maintained in the dam and river for consumption and fish habitat.

For some years, record-high temperatures and well-below average rainfall led to the worst drought conditions in our region with lower water flows in rivers. Fortunately, with the ongoing efforts with the province and operations, flow is maintained in the Englishman River.

Follow the City of Parksville watering restrictions to conserve, balance and prolong the use of our water.

Where can I find the current and historical data of the snow pillow, rainfall, Arrowsmith Lake Dam and Englishman River levels?


The Englishman River Water Service project included construction of a new water treatment plant, new water intake and transmission mains to ensure a safe, efficient, and secure water system supply for the community well into the future. These improvements ensure we can meet water demands yearound domestic use for fire protection, and peak demands during the busy summer tourist season when population can double in our community.

With the new water intake and treatment facility, the City takes water from the Englishman River yearound, rather than summer months only. Parksville is fortunate to also have groundwater supply which provides resiliency and redundancy in our system.

Rigorous system reviews and constant monitoring are conducted to ensure
there is adequate quantity and quality of water to meet current and future
water demands. Water reserves are monitored daily.

The City of Parksville is a partner in the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Team WaterSmart which also includes City of Nanaimo, North Cedar Improvement District, Town of Qualicum Beach, Deep Bay Improvement District, Bowser Waterworks, Qualicum Bay Horn Lake Waterworks and EPCOR French Creek.

On the 'wet coast' of BC, it is easy to take our water supply for granted. Summer months are becoming hotter and drier at a time when demand for water resources is the highest, mostly because of outdoor watering. Water restrictions or water conservation is encouraged throughout the region to create awareness and good stewardship of our resources. Parksville and the RDN coordinate the implementation of seasonal water conservation measures every year to encourage water users to reduce their outdoor consumption and avoid using precious drinking water for non-essential things like power washing driveways.

Parksville’s water is metered, and the City uses tiered water billing to encourage mindful use of water, charging a higher rate to those who consume greater amounts of water. This is a recommended best practice for water conservation. Rebates are offered to encourage residents to install low flush toilets and purchase rain barrels. In addition, all multi-family, commercial and industrial developments are required to demonstrate water conservation measures when applying for construction permits.

City of Parksville - Watering Restrictions


Where is the clay bank and what causes it to slough into the river?
The clay bank is located along the Englishman River fronting a few
properties on Kaye Road in the Rivers Edge subdivision in the Regional District of Nanaimo. Groundwater flows out of the bank causing pieces along the edge of the bank to fall into the river; this turns the river grey until the water washes it away.

Can the new treatment plant filter the particles from the clay bank?
Prior to construction, significant study and testing was undertaken to determine if clay bank failure would be an issue and it was determined
debris from the clay banks does not pose a threat to the ERWS treated
water. Part of the water treatment plant testing included proof piloting on the ultrafiltration membranes by running samples of the water containing the clay, removed without issue. During testing, clay bank turbidity and colour were analyzed and during plant construction, measures put into place to offset any clay bank failures and thereby ensure the purity of water coming from the plant.

In February 2021, there was significant sloughing of the clay banks. Data verified any particles which could be harmful were removed from the water during the treatment process. The clay particles are small and pass through the sand separator and strainers but because they are too large to pass through the fibers of the membrane filtration system, are washed off during the backwash cycle and removed. During a clay bank event, the situation is carefully monitored and any adjustments are made.


Note: meter failure and replacement in 2019 so no % consumptions available


The Englishman River Water Service is a joint venture between the City of Parksville (74% ownership) and the Regional District of Nanaimo (26% ownership) formed in 2011 to secure bulk water supply from the Englishman River for the residents of Parksville and the Nanoose Bay Peninsula Water Service Area.

The Arrowsmith Water Service joint venturers are the City of Parksville, Town of Qualicum Beach and the Regional District of Nanaimo who hold the water licences and are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Arrowsmith dam, spillway and outlet works. The City of Parksville has the overall responsibility for the day-to-day system operation and maintenance.

ERWS Annual Financial Statements

Englishman River Flow and Rainfall (July to October, 2017-2022)


  • Did you know it takes a drop of water about 18 hours to get from the Arrowsmith dam to our water treatment plant?
  • Did you know ~60 to 70% of our body is water?
  • Turning off the tap while brushing teeth for two minutes, twice a day, can save close to 700 litres of drinking water in a month.
Copyright © City of Parksville
All Rights Reserved | Site by Bravenet Marketing Inc.
Legal Disclaimer/Privacy Statement