What is the status of Gibsons’ water supply?
Following the recent update of the Aquifer Mapping Study (2021), the Town of Gibsons has comprehensive, current data that shows the Aquifer can supply the community’s water needs, even under more challenging climate conditions.
The Aquifer Mapping Study Update modelled multiple future climate scenarios, including;
- A range of population growth estimates (1.2 to 2.5%)
- A range of water demands (0.404 to 0.523 cubic metres/capita/day)
- Changes to groundwater recharge from precipitation:
- 15% decrease in rainfall
- 30% decrease in snow accumulation, and
- Sea Level rise, which will decrease the available drawdown.
The conclusion was that there is a low risk to the Aquifer from over-pumping associated with the total licensed groundwater volume and for the full buildout water demand, including climate-affected conditions.
How is the Aquifer monitored?
The Town has extensive data to understand the movement and cycling of water in the Aquifer and is able to assess the long-term supply under various demand and climate conditions (see above). The Town’s annual monitoring program provides information on water level, water quality and recharging levels, tracking trends year to year.
The Town’s water distribution system monitors pumping volume from each well daily, and the well sensors provide staff with real-time data of the water level at each of the well locations, allowing staff to track changes within the aquifer continually.
Why does the Town of Gibsons implement water restrictions?
The Town automatically moves to Stage 1 Water Use Regulations on May 1st each year, regardless of the weather. This is to help even out water use throughout the year.
Subsequent stages are put into place on an as-needed basis, depending on the rainfall received and water usage that occurs through the summer months. Other reasons for increasing restrictions include:
- The water license we hold with the Province of BC limits the amount of water we can draw from the Aquifer, so we need to manage our water use in order to adhere to our limits.
- Climate change is dramatically affecting what we consider to be “normal” conditions. We all need to adopt a more conservation-minded approach to our water use. Regardless of the abundance of water available, we still need to keep water conservation top of mind.
- We see the Sunshine Coast as a community, and it is imperative that all local governments are united in overcoming the current water supply challenge.
We recognize that water supply is an important and complex issue and will be actively working over the year to share resources with our residents on the ins and outs of our water supply.