The Town of Gibsons (ToG) and the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) announced that they have entered into a long-term Aquifer 560 Watershed Agreement. The agreement improves on the 2013 Bulk Water Agreement and commits both local governments to jointly expand the monitoring program across the ecological area of the watershed. This area covers from “Source to Sea”; the aquifer recharge area extending up the mountain, Chaster, Charman, Gibson and Soames creeks, and the Gibsons harbour in Átl’ḵa7tsem/Howe Sound.

The two parties, in partnership with the Squamish Nation, have also agreed to continue exploring legal protections for the natural assets that provide ecosystem services such as water storage and filtration, drainage, and coastal protection, in the form of a Water Sustainability Plan Area designation.

The partnership also envisions the creation of a Fringe Area Plan to better align governmental planning in the area. This would include a transportation network plan, alignment of land use planning and the protection of natural areas to ensure current and future growth remains sustainable, meeting the needs of the community while protecting the ecological integrity of the fringe area.

The parties have also agreed to collaborate on optimizing the interconnection between the SCRD and ToG water systems, to build greater resiliency for both systems. They will:

  • Evaluate ways to bolster the level of service each community can reliably provide through strengthened infrastructure and coordinated Water Supply Strategies,
  • Align Well Head and Aquifer Protection Strategies, Development Permit Area requirements, and Aquifer Monitoring and Modelling Programs, to enable a common understanding of the Aquifer characteristics and consistent application of protection measures,
  • Plan for the sustainable operation of the two water systems over the year to align with drought forecasts and in consideration of the capacity of each source,
  • Review and align Emergency Response Plans to provide better integration and communication, and
  • Develop and share emergency operating procedures for each water system to ensure rapid response time for cross-system supply is possible in urgent situations.

Similar to the last two years, the ToG will supply the SCRD with up to 1500 cubic metres of water a day to supplement the Regional District’s needs for 2023. With the additional well capacity at Church Road, it is anticipated that the SCRD will be able to supply its own needs in the future and that the exchange of water will be limited to emergency situations.

“This is truly a significant development,” says Silas White, Mayor of Gibsons. “Our staff’s hard work and diligent aquifer stewardship to make this happen exemplifies our community’s concern, cooperation and willingness to work together to solve issues that affect the entire Sunshine Coast. Through better collaboration and integration, we will all benefit.”

“This important agreement shows what can be achieved through respectful cooperation and collaboration,” says SCRD Board Chair, Leonard Lee. “We can accomplish big goals by bringing everyone together to work towards maintaining and protecting our watersheds.”

For more information about the Town’s water systems, go to

For more information about the SCRD, go to


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