Jan 16, 2022

ERWS FAQs

WATERSHED AND ARROWSMITH DAM

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

Record-high temperatures and well-below average rainfall this year has led to some of the worst drought conditions in our region with lower water flows in rivers. Fortunately, with the ongoing efforts of our operations group, flow is maintained in the Englishman River.

Follow the City of Parksville water 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?

  • Snow Weather Station
  • Rainfall records, Parksville Community Park gauge
  • Arrowsmith Dam levels
  • Englishman River levels and flows, Island Highway East (Highway 19A Orange Bridge)
  • WATER CONSERVATION

    The ERWS project, which included construction of a new water treatment plant, new in-river water supply intake and transmission mains to homes and businesses, ensures a safe, efficient, and secure water system supply for the community well into the future. These improvements ensure we can meet water demands year-round for fire protection, future development, 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 year-round, rather than summer months only. This benefits the river fishery and secures water supply to meet growth demands for Parksville, well into the future. 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 an 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 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 Region 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 and charge 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 their water conservation measures when applying for construction permits.

    This past summer, water restrictions were implemented throughout BC, as many areas do not have the same capacity as Parksville. Despite a province-wide drought, the City of Parksville remained on Stage 3, voluntary water use reductions.

    City of Parksville - Water Restrictions

    CLAY BANK

    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.

    CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION FACTS

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

    ENGLISHMAN RIVER WATER SERVICE PARTNERSHIP

    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

    FUN FACTS

    • 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 each month.
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