Members of the Abbotsford Heat hockey squad will be playing on rainwater next season.
A rain harvesting system is being built for the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC) and will be used to make the ice in the facility. It will be the first professional grade indoor ice arena to use rainwater.
The project is expected to save approximately 830,000 litres of water each season.
It is also estimated that the program will save the city a little more than $3,000 per year in water, sewer and energy charges. Installed, the system costs $27,000, so the city will recoup its investment in just over eight years.
According to the staff report released on Monday, about one million litres of water is required each hockey season to make and maintain the ice. Creating the initial playing surface requires 38,160 litres, and an additional 370,000 litres (10,000 litres per game, 37 games a season) is needed to maintain it during play. An additional 420,000 litres is used for practices and community rentals.
The AESC system will be capable of generating 30,000 litres of water for every 25mm (one inch) of rain.
“The rain will be collected on approximately 13,000 square feet of the AESC roof,” said Amy Wakeford, water conservation program coordinator for the city.
The water is collected into eight tanks, located in the facility’s boiler room, and will be used almost daily to run the Zamboni ice cleaning machine.
According to Wakeford, the city also has a 9,000 gallon tank ready to collect rainwater in the city equipment yard. That water will be used for city watering of trees and flower beds.
The city is also looking at creating similar systems at both the Abbotsford and Matsqui recreation centres.
Abbotsford’s average rainfall is 1,575 mm (62 inches) per year.
The new rainwater harvesting system is a partnership between the City of Abbotsford, the AESC and two local businesses, Barr Plastics and Saxon Mechanical.