Thursday, November 1, 2018

Regional water and sewer utilities: big dollar, critical services for Metro Vancouver

Unless you’ve visited a regional park, there is a good chance that you’ve never directly interacted with the Metro Vancouver Regional District. Besides regional parks, two of the services that people benefit from directly each and every day are water and sewer services. Water services have been provided regionally since 1926 and sewer services since 1956.

Municipalities are responsible for the pipes and local reservoirs that are between the property lines of businesses and residences to Metro Vancouver mains. The following maps show where these water and sewer mains are for Langley City.

Map of Metro Vancouver Sewer Mains in Langley City. Select map to enlarge. Source: Metro Vancouver GIS.

Map of Metro Vancouver Water Main that serves Langley City. Select map to enlarge. Source: Metro Vancouver GIS.

With the possible exception of the North Shore, the rest of the region would be in a pickle if water and sewer services were not regionalized.

Water and sewer services are capital intensive; it takes a lot of money to build and renew these services. Recently, the regional district presented its financial plan for 2019. 37% or $308.6 million of the regional district’s budget is planned to go towards sewer services operations, and 35% or $289.1 million towards water services operations.

$231.4 million in project expenditures are planned for 2019 to maintain the regional water system and to accommodate growth. Many of the projects support the growth occurring in the South of Fraser.

$564.9 million in project expenditures are planned in 2019 for the regional sewer system. Two major multi-year projects that directly support the South of Fraser are the expansion of both the Annacis Island and Northwest Langley wastewater treatment plants.

These projects are paid for with funding from regional district operations, other orders of government, and debt financing. Over the next decade, the amount of money annually required to maintain and growth both water and sewer services is projected to increase.

While little attention is paid to water and sewer services, some of the most critical and expensive projects in our region are to ensure that taps work and toilets flush.

For more information, please check out the Metro Vancouver 2019-2023 Financial Plan Presentation Slides.

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