Water source, capacity the focus for Abby/Mission meeting

The decision to hold a joint session was made during Thursday’s Abbotsford Mission Water and Sewer Commission (AMWSC) meeting.

The timing of when a new water source will be needed, where it will come from and whether the current system can deliver are some of the questions set to be discussed at a future joint council meeting between the City of Abbotsford and the District of Mission.

The decision to hold a joint session was made during Thursday’s Abbotsford Mission Water and Sewer Commission (AMWSC) meeting.

During last month’s AMWSC, Abbotsford Coun. Henry Braun announced his intention to call for an independent review of the two communities’ water plan.

Braun maintained a new water supply is not the main issue, but rather the infrastructure’s capacity to deliver it.

Braun based his position on a report which stated the current capacity of the water system is 155 million litres a day (MLD), meaning the system can only distribute a maximum of 155 MLD before the reservoir begins to drain.

About half the reservoir capacity must be maintained at all times in case of a major fire.

Braun said he saw no reason to add a new water source, to add to the approximately 170 MLD currently available, when the system can only distribute 155 MLD.

City staff pointed out that servicing and improving the distribution system is an ongoing job and has been since Abbotsford and Mission took over the water system from the Fraser Valley Regional District in 2005.

Conservation efforts, awareness and a new billing cycle in Abbotsford seem to have created a new trend of declining water use. So far in 2012, the peak capacity day has only reached 95.5 MLD as compared to the record high of 139.2 MLD in 2007.

While the numbers are encouraging, some commission members are wary of calling the recent decline a trend.

“I’m not confident doing that,” said Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman.

He said a trend cannot be based on only a couple of years of information, and staff engineers would have been “reckless” to do so.

Mission staff also presented the findings of that city’s latest water study which indicated that a water metering system in Mission could help to maximize the lifespan of the current supply another 10 to 20 years.

Braun agreed to table his motion for a review until after the joint council meeting.

At the meeting, councillors will also discuss several possible sources of water. They include the expansion of Norrish Creek, Cannell Lake, Miracle Valley, Stave Lake, the Fraser River and joining Metro Vancouver’s water system.

No date or location has been scheduled for the joint council discussions.

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