Our VID Water System
Background and General Information
As many of you know the aquifer that our community draws from is a lens of fresh water that sits upon the salt water of the ocean. The biggest risk that we manage against is a potential intrusion of salt water into the well. If that were to happen the well would need to be closed for approximately a 5 year period in order to recover. The possibility of this happening is closely tied to the possibility of over-pumping too much water.
This diagram from the BC Government illustrates what the effect is when too much water ends up getting pumped from a well such as ours.
When our well was first drilled, the Hydro geologist Rick Guiton recommended that we do not pump more than 20,000 liters in one day, if we did not want to put our well at risk of possible salt water intrusion. This is a figure for peak use only, not an amount to be pumped each day. To be conservative, the Trustees are now setting a daily target of not exceeding 16,000 liters a day, which historically has only become an issue for us on the summer long weekends when our population is at its highest.
In addition to wanting to stay well below that number, the Water Sustainability Act that was enacted by the BC Government in 2016 https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/water/water-licensing-rights is in the process of taking on oversight of all the groundwater in the province. In order to work in accordance to that new change, the VID is currently in negotiation with the government of what the allowable number of litres per year we can pump will be, and those negotiations are based our annual usage over the past 5 years.
One of the reasons we installed water meters was to help provide individual cabin owners information around water use at their own cabin. We don’t have the results for a full year yet. However, below is a graph of meter readings for water consumed during the month of August 2019. The graph is from lowest to highest use. The vertical axis of this graph is 1,000's of litres and each number on the horizontal axis represents a single cabin, ranked lowest to highest usage for the month.
In the coming weeks I will send out an email to each individual owner letting you know what your water consumption looked like this past August, as a point of reference for you. These will only be shared with you and the Trustees. Going forward, to serve as reference for you, I will provide a monthly water use update for the months of July and August. This is meant to be informational for each cabin owner, and to help create awareness around your own water use.
Please keep in mind that this is only about water that comes out of our system. Water being pumped up from individual sandpoint wells do not draw from the same source and is not believed to have any material impact on our well.
These maybe obvious to most people but I thought it might be helpful to share some of the more common usage tips that folks in the VID have been successfully using for years.
Tips for Conserving Water on the Island
1) Limit shower times to a maximum of 5 minutes (shower together if that’s your thing!)
2) Don’t use your hose for watering. If you want to do that, having a sandpoint well and a pump is a great solution for that. Hand watering is a good way to also limit usage.
3) Don’t flush the toilet every time someone does #1. “If it’s yellow, let it mellow and if it’s brown flush it down”
4) If you have guests or renters using your cabin when you’re not there, please help them to understand our needs around water conservation.
Lastly, water samples were sent to ALS Environmental for testing in February 2020. The level of manganese after the filters is down to 18% of the maximum allowable concentration according to the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. So the good news is that filters we installed are working.