A map of the water system, showing the leak location. Image sourced from the CVRD.
COURTENAY, B.C- Residents of the Comox Valley will likely be on strict water restrictions in the middle of April.
According to the agenda for the Comox Valley Regional District Water Committee for April 2, Stage 4 restrictions are being planned in order to accommodate an emergency water line repair in the CVRD water system from April 12th to 22nd.
A major leak was found in the line back in December, near the intake point in the Puntledge River.
The line is one of the primary and largest transmission mains for the Valley’s water system, and during the repairs, the system in East Courtenay and Comox will be relying solely on a smaller secondary line.
According to the staff summary for the committee, the secondary line is unable to handle peak water volumes for the entire system, which will make the temporary restrictions necessary.
“By requiring users to follow Stage 4 restriction guidelines, it is expected that water use can be reduced enough to allow the emergency repair to be conducted on the water main, while maintaining water flows to meet the needs for firefighting and domestic water use,” read part of the staff summary.
All the parts and pieces for the repair have been acquired, according to the staff report, and all the necessary tree clearing has been finished, before nesting season, to avoid delays due to nesting birds.
Repairs are expected to take ten days, and the work will include isolating, draining, cutting, welding and assembling the valves and spool pieces to reinstate the water main.
There was a delay in fabrication and delivery of valves, which pushed repairs of the leak to mid-April during times of higher consumption.
“Even a small consumption increase due to warm weather, a watermain break, or any other unforeseen increased flow will result in the system not being able to meet fire flow demands,” read the staff report.
“Stage Four restrictions are serious and designed for this specific circumstance, where risk to the public and property could occur and drastic reduction of water must occur to limit this risk.”
The water committee will be discussing the move on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m.
The following information about the rules on Stage 4 restrictions can be found below, sourced from the district.
During stage 4 all use of water for any purpose other than drinking, food preparation and personal hygiene is prohibited.
2.Without limiting the generality of section 1, prohibited uses of water during stage 4 include the following: (a)watering lawns, gardens, plants and trees in any manner or by any means, including watering by hand; (b)filling or topping off or operating residential or commercial pools, hot tubs or ponds or fountains; (c)operating local government outdoor water parks and pools; (d)washing vehicles, boats or outdoor surfaces; (e)irrigating golf courses and other public and/or school district property.
3.Where reasonably possible, swimming pools, hot tubs, fountains and ponds should be drained for health and safety purposes and such water used for irrigation.
4.No new lawn permit shall be issued during stage 4, and no new lawn permit, whenever issued, shall be valid during stage 4.
5.As exceptions to stage 4 restrictions, (a)spot cleaning of vehicles and boats with a sponge and bucket for health and safety reasons (windows, lights, license plates, etc.) is permitted; (b)local government water main and hydrant maintenance is permitted, but only for unscheduled safety or public health reasons; (c)irrigating local government all-weather playing fields; (d)water use is permitted for farm and agricultural operations, but only for livestock drinking purposes and for no other purpose; (e)cleaning outdoor surfaces is only authorized when required by law to comply with health or safety regulations, or to comply with an order of a regulatory authority having jurisdiction, such as WorkSafeBC or a public health inspector; (f)water use is permitted for firefighting.