Due to low water levels, BIM has supplemented the Bluewater and King Edward Bay (KEB) water systems with Cove Bay water.
BIM said in a news release Thursday that the Bluewater Park reservoir ran empty the previous week and the KEB reservoir dipped uncomfortably low. The two neighbourhoods have been under stage four water restrictions since May due to low water flow from the Bluewater wells. KEB and Bluewater reservoirs are linked and so KEB has been supplying both neighbourhoods.
“We get nervous when we have one empty reservoir and we have a second reservoir that's down, it was down into the 60 per cent range, which is essentially the [fire fighting] storage,” said BIM’s interim director of engineering Glen Shkurhan.
To fill the reservoir, BIM took eight truckloads of water from the Cove Bay water system to KEB last week and another (estimated) 10 truck loads Friday said Shkurhan.
The unpublicised move concerned some residents as Cove Bay water, being from a surface source, comes with a provincially required warning that those with compromised immune systems might want to boil their water or buy bottled water. The public didn’t hear about the change to their water source until a week after the Cove Bay water entered the system.
“We were at a point of urgency. So it's either run out of water or get advance notice…so in that instance, we had to take quick action,” said Shkurhan.
“As a safeguard, the province requires notification,” he said. “It's good quality potable water, the entire Cove Bay system is using it on a daily basis. But the province requires just an announcement that is a different source and it has different exposure to different pathogens because it’s surface water.
“Also with that, the Cove Bay water that's been brought in is a relatively small percentage of the total,” he said.
BIM chief administrative officer Kathy Lalonde said there is “no chance whatsoever” that stage four water restrictions would be imposed on the Cove Bay water system, Bowen’s largest, as a result of this water contribution.
“We wouldn’t have jeopardized putting another water system under stage four,” said Lalonde.
BIM said it would be doing tests on the Bluewater wells come Monday to see why there have been issues with water levels and they continue to look for leaks in the system (this is another reason for trucking in water from Cove Bay). In the meantime stage four restrictions remain in place.
A special council meeting with updates from Lalonde, Shkurhan and with a memo from at least one Local Advisory Committee on the matter will take place July 29.
BIM is also asking for Bowen, especially Bluewater and King Edward Bay, residents to subscribe to its news alerts so that they may be quickly and easily informed about water developments. This can be done at bowenislandmunicipality.ca/subscribe.