Drinking Water

Water quality standards in Whistler are very high and drinking water is safe to drink from the tap.  Rainbow Glacier (21 Mile Creek) and numerous wells, supply Whistler's drinking water.

Municipal Water Supply and Distribution

The RMOW operates two drinking water supply and distribution systems:

  • The community water system
  • Emerald neighbourhood water system 

Whistler’s drinking water begins as rainfall and snowmelt in the surrounding mountains. Whistler’s main source of drinking water is 21 Mile Creek. Water from the creek is disinfected, provided with residual chlorine and flowed to the water distribution system. Whistler has many water reservoirs that provide fire protection and storage for peak usage times.  

While 21 Mile Creek is an excellent and abundant (though not infinite) source of water, the ability to use 21 Mile Creek is limited by periods of high turbidity when the creek water has too many particles to be acceptable for the drinking water system. 

Supplementing the supply provided by 21 Mile Creek are 14 groundwater wells that draw from underground aquifers, which are in turn slowly recharged from surface water.  Over drawing these wells faster than they can be recharged, a possibility during dry summer months when water is in peak demand, poses the threat of a water shortage and is best mitigated through sound water conservation practices.

Whistler’s source water is of such high quality it only requires disinfection. The RMOW consistently provides some of the safest water in Canada.  The water is not fluoridated, but does have standard levels of residual chlorine. The water also has neutral pH, low turbidity (cloudiness), and excellent flavor and odour.

The RMOW drinking water system is operated and maintained by qualified and EOCP certified RMOW staff.   

Private and Internal Water Systems

Private and internal water systems in Whistler include:

  • Commercial and residential strata developments, which typically own and are responsible for their own water distribution systems
  • Function Junction businesses and residents that are served by a private water distribution system
  • Whistler Blackcomb, which operates separate potable and non-potable private supply and distribution systems
  • Whistler Sliding Centre, which operates a private potable water distribution system
  • Some Whistler’s parks, which have dedicated irrigation wells
  • Some golf courses, which have dedicated irrigation wells

Water Production

RMOW water production totals 5.7 million cubic metres, of which 39 per cent was surface water, and 61 per cent ground water. These mains provide supply and distribution of drinking and fire protection water to most buildings within the current boundaries of the RMOW, and none outside of those boundaries. 

Total water volume produced 2008-2012

Year Total Volume Produced (litres)
2008 5,161,300,000
2009 5,179,989,000
2010 5,699,320,000
2011 5,275,147,000
2012 5,348,095,000

Annual Drinking Water Reports

The RMOW prepares annual water system monitoring reports that summarize the water system’s performance. The reports are prepared for the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, as a requirement by the permit to operate.

Download the following annual water drinking water reports: 

2012 2011 | 2010  |  2009  |  2008 


Utilities Department

After-hours emergency phone: 604-935-8320