Oct 18, 2021

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)
  • 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 da-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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