June 27, 2017

Abbotsford looks at tapping the Fraser for water

The City of Abbotsford is looking to solve its long term water problems by tapping a nearby major waterway.

Mayor Bruce Banman says people in the city have cut their water usage since a debate over water use began.

“What really happened is, is Abbotsford is down 25-percent on peak days. Nobody would have even thought that human behaviour would have changed that much. That 25-percent on peak days even with growth in population has now bought us time.”

Banman says the extra time will now go to figuring out a long term water supply solution.

“Abbotsford and Mission are back on the same page again and instead of looking for a mega-project we are now looking at ways because of the 25-percent savings we can now look at smaller ways, a mega-litre here a mega-litre there, to improve the capacity of the system. One of the things we are now discussing, we are not saying we are going to do it, to actually take water directly out of the Fraser.”

Banman says the Fraser river has been overlooked as a water source because of its muddy appearance.

“Every other major city in the world does this but because we have had such clean lakes we thought that water needs to be clear. The Fraser is really just a silt problem and that is perfectly treatable. For instance that is about 20-million dollars I have been told by staff, as a rough estimate. We are looking at different options that are a lot more reasonable.”

In the last civic election about three quarters of Abbotsford voters rejected a public-private water project.

CKNW Vancouver News

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