Wednesday, March 18, 2020

New water tunnels, $2.4 billion in investments over 4 years to ensure clean drinking water in region

Langley City is a member municipality of the Metro Vancouver Regional District. The regional district provides many critical services for people in Metro Vancouver. For around a century, we have had a regional water utility. Except for White Rock and some parts of Langley Township, if you live in Metro Vancouver, you receive your water from that utility.

The regional district is responsible for the water reservoirs at Capilano Lake, Seymour Lake, and Coquitlam Lake. It is also responsible for treating the water to make it safe to drink, and getting this water to municipalities in Metro Vancouver. Municipalities connect into the Metro Vancouver water system, and provide the “last mile” pipes and connections to buildings.

Because there are no regional water sources in the South of Fraser, all our water crosses the Fraser River. There are five crossings today to get drinking water into the South of Fraser.

The most recent project completed was the $240-million Port Mann Water Supply Tunnel which was opened in 2017. This 3.5-meter diameter, 1-kilometre long tunnel was built to modern earthquake standards. For more details about this project, please read “Tunnelling under the Fraser River at 6 bar.”

Port Mann Tunnel South Shaft. Select image to enlarge. Source: Tunnelling under the Fraser River at 6 bar

The regional district is in the process of building another water supply tunnel under the Fraser River to accommodate population growth in the South of Fraser, and to ensure that the water system remains reliable (even in the event of a major earthquake.) This new 2.3‐kilometre‐long tunnel will go between New Westminster and Surrey as shown on the following map.

Annacis Water Supply Tunnel Concept Overview. Select image to enlarge. Source: Metro Vancouver

While water mains and tunnels are not top-of-mind for most people in Metro Vancouver, they are critical to people’s daily lives in our region. The regional district has invested billions of dollars into the water system over the last decade. It will be investing $2.4 billion over the next 4 years into the water system.

It is encouraging to know that as a region we are committed to investing in our critical infrastructure to make sure that when you turn on a tap, now or in ten years, clean drinking water will come out.

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