Water Data Puts City's Claims of Urgency in Doubt
A review of core data about City of Nanaimo water use casts doubt about claims of the City that there is a water crisis looming. For some time, the City has been saying that by 2020 the City will require a substantial new amount of water. But the City of Nanaimo's own water data raises some serious questions. For example, it is frequently reported that the City will require an additional 20 million cubic metres [54.8 ML/day] by 2020. However, in 2020, forecasted total average demand will be 49-50 ML/day. And by 2050, average total demand will be 77 ML/day.
"Looking at this data, many questions are raised about the City's proposal to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on dealing with a water crisis. ", said Chief White. “The data suggests that even with a little focus and effort on water conservation concerns about future demand can be met”, he add. "It is also ironic. The City speaks of urgency. Well, the reality is that we have our own example of Attawapiskat here in Nanaimo. Snuneymuxw has four habitable reserves. Three of them have no running water - water has to be trucked in. That is urgent." said Chief White.
Snuneymuxw First Nation announced last week that it is planning legal challenges with respect to the water tied to water licenses granted by the Province to Harmac. It is also preparing to challenge plans by the City to acquire those licences. These challenges will highlight Snuneymuxw’s treaty protected fisheries, and impacts to the environment.
Some basic water facts based on the City of Nanaimo's own data
- Canada has one of the highest average daily uses of water in the world with 343 litres consumed per person per day.
- In B.C., we use about 490 litres of water per person per day, more than 150 litres per day above the Canadian average. (source BC Hydro Water Guide: http://www.bchydro.com/guides_tips/green-your home/water_guide.html)
- Nanaimo consumes 500-570 litres per person per day (45% higher than the Canadian average).
- If Nanaimo invested in water conservation and hit the Canadian average, average daily use would be 29.5 ML/day rather than the 43 ML/day that the city used in 2010.
- This would mean that Nanaimo would have sufficient water for its growing population to around 2040.
- Current total water demand in the City of Nanaimo averages between 40 - 50 megalitres a day. The City often reports that this number is between 80 - 90 megalitres a day. But that number is the peak use of a single day during the year. The average daily use is half of that.
- The City of Nanaimo says that in 2020 water demand will require an additional 20 million cubic metres [54.8 ML/day]. In 2020, forecasted average demand will be 49-50 ML/day. And that by 2050, average demand will be 77 ML/day.
- The city in its water demand projections assumes that population growth will grow at 1.5% per year while water use will remain constant.
- Population growth of 1.5% is consistent with BC Stats population projections only to about 2020 after which growth is projected to decrease to less than 0.7% by 2030.