Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Metro Vancouver Water

When many people think of what makes a city work and grow, they think of roads and free land to build on. While these are important, the key to building a city is to have a low-cost, available water supply and sewers. In fact, there is an urban planning trick question about this. What is the major reason for sprawl? You are supposed to answer roads, the urban planner will correct you with water mains as the answer.

Unlike some major city like LA and New York that pump their water from 100’s of kilometres away, our water comes from the Capilano, Seymour, and Coquitlam watersheds. This is good news for the future of our region as we’ll continue to have a clean source of water for some time, while many other regions in North America are running out of water today.

Metro Vancouver has been working for over a decade, without much fanfare, replacing and upgrading the water infrastructure which is so important for human life and for a functioning, sustainable city. In 2005, Metro Vancouver released a drinking water management plan and they are currently working on an update of the plan. While there are some obvious projects like finishing the Seymour-Capilano Filtration Project, they are also other less sexy projects like patching leaky water mains and reducing system pressure to prevent more leaks. Also interest is the part of the plan that talks about providing watershed field-trips and education material to help people become more aware of where their water comes from. The plan is only 16 pages long and is worth a read.

I’ve also posted a link to the “other” Port Mann project which will ensure that South of the Fraser communities have clean drinking water into the future.

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