Open house scheduled for Tuesday, October 15 at Municipal Hall
To better meet Whistler’s demand for water year-round, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is looking to commission an already-constructed ground water well in the 21 Mile Creek aquifer.
Details on commissioning the well will be provided at an open house scheduled for Tuesday, October 15 from 4 to 5 p.m. at Flute Room in Municipal Hall.
“The well we are hoping to commission is already constructed near Rainbow Park, just not in use. It complements another existing groundwater well in the 21 Mile Creek aquifer that is being used,” said Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton. “Commissioning it will ensure Whistler has enough drinking water at times when our main water source – 21 Mile Creek – is highly turbid and cannot be treated to drinking water standards.”
Will help to meet demand under certain conditions
Approximately half of Whistler’s drinking water comes from 21 Mile Creek. When 21 Mile Creek is turbid – typically during periods of heavy rain – additional water is sourced from 13 groundwater wells. This typically occurs from April to June and again from October to November.
Based on current water usage and future predictions, relying only on 21 Mile Creek during these periods may lead to water shortages. Being able to source water from the additional groundwater well as needed, ensures Whistler has a more resilient water system.
Exemption needed from Environmental Assessment Certificate requirements
To operate the second 21 Mile Creek aquifer well, the RMOW is asking the Provincial Government for an exemption from Environmental Assessment Certificate (EAC) requirements. Exemption from EAC requirements is a rigorous process, granted only to projects that achieve certain conditions, including low environmental impact.
Approval of an exemption is by a designee to the Minister of the Environment (usually the Executive Director of the EAO).
More specifically: Operating both the existing and the second groundwater wells in the 21 Mile Creek aquifer at the same time would exceed the Provincial regulations of extracting no more than 75 litres of water per second.
The RMOW intends to exceed this limit only if water demand cannot be met during April to June and October to November because 21 Mile Creek surface water is too turbid to use. During these times, no significant effects to fish, wetlands or aquifers have been identified.
Several water conservation initiatives underway
To ensure the Whistler community always has enough drinking water, the RMOW is also continuing to move ahead with several water conservation initiatives.
- Function Junction water metering. Implementing volumetric water billing through water metering in Function Junction for industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) properties. Learn more.
- Once-Through Water Use reduction. Enforcing the Once-Through Water Use Bylaw No. 2198, 2018 to reduce water wastage. Learn more.
- Potential water metering for all ICI customers. The RMOW is exploring water metering for all ICI customers in Whistler. A decision on this approach is expected to be made once results from our pilot project are known.
- Protecting 21 Mile Creek. The RMOW and other stakeholders continue to implement the 21 Mile Creek Source Protection Plan to keep the alpine watershed clean. Read the plan.
- Cross Connection Control Program. The RMOW is beginning to enforce the recent Cross Connection Control Bylaw No 2233, 2019 to prevent backflow contamination. Learn more.
- Water Conservation Stage system. The RMOW is continuing to regulate water use through the innovative Water Conservation Stage system, which allows more flexible irrigation timelines while also keeping reservoirs full in case of fire. Learn more.
All water conservation work is informed by the Comprehensive Water Conservation and Supply Plan.
Learn more about the 21 Mile Creek aquifer groundwater well and how the RMOW is working to conserve water at whistler.ca/water.