The City of Campbell River and representatives from BC Hydro have agreed that the community’s water supply is safer and more reliable when separated from BC Hydro’s power generation system at John Hart Lake.
City Council awarded a contract to construct a new community water supply system on October 22. Discussion at that day’s city council meeting included possibilities for a back-up supply source in the event of an emergency. One proposed idea was tapping into a new BC Hydro tunnel that will carry water past the dam to generate energy.
“We looked at many options considering cost and timing, and tapping into the tunnel had major issues that prevented it from being a viable option as a domestic water supply,” said Stephen Watson, communications lead for the John Hart project and BC Hydro’s liaison to the City for the past 13 years.
“For the City’s drinking water safety and reliability, it’s beneficial for both parties to have complete separation from each other’s infrastructure. This is one of the primary reasons why BC Hydro, appreciating the City’s financial situation, is contributing as much as we are for much-improved and detached City water withdrawal system.”
City Councillor Andy Adams explained that the new water system being built will be more reliable than tapping into BC Hydro’s infrastructure. “Along with being built to higher earthquake standards, the City’s new water infrastructure, that will go deep into the John Hart reservoir and below the draw-down zone, will be much more reliable than the current water supply source.”
As approved by council in July 2012, BC Hydro is committed to contributing 75 per cent, or up to $12.5 million, of the cost of a new, dedicated domestic water intake for the City of Campbell River.