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Mayor’s Report – December 19, 2013

Meet the Mayor

December 19, 2013

So you are a coffee drinker, or maybe your beverage of choice is decaffeinated green tea. No problem. I also know some of you ingest a lot of highly sweetened, calorie-laced soft drinks. Whatever your choice of liquid, the primary ingredient is water, the universal solvent, of which every molecule is composed of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen (H20). Odd and interesting, even fascinating, isn’t it, that two atoms of a highly volatile gas (at room temperature) plus one atom of a gas (at room temperature) that supports combustion, when combined, form a liquid (at room temperature) that we cannot live long without? Think of that the next time you raise a cup of brew, take a shower, or dump your canoe in mid stream.

Most of us take that drink or dip our paddle without ever thinking that the long arm of the government in Victoria holds the power to tell us how much water we can use, when we can use it, and when we can’t. It sounds utterly sinister but reality is more benign. The legislation governing our use of water, the Water Act, was established more than 100 years ago and is not serving the needs of the province adequately. For this reason, the government will be introducing the Water Sustainability Act in the spring of 2014 to replace the aging Water Act.

Here in the north east we have not experienced the same historical pressures on water resources as, for example, residents of the Okanagan. That’s changing. The search for natural gas is putting enormous pressures on both surface and subsurface water resources. Timber harvesting and agriculture have contributed to changing patterns of water flow. In addition, the pressure of increasing population adds to the draw on our water resources. We can no longer take a laissez-faire approach to water use.

As your member on the Peace River Regional District Board, I have had opportunity over the last several years to review draft legislation for the Water Sustainability Act. As a resident of the Chetwynd area with a vested interest in an adequate and dependable clean water supply, I would like to see a measure of regional control on the use and allocation of water. With increasing rail, pipe line, and road traffic through the centre of Chetwynd’s water shed, it would be good to have some assurance of the purity and sustainability of our water.

As domestic consumers of water, you are not likely to see a change in the flow from your tap as a result of the Water Sustainability Act. Nor will the rural home owner experience a measurable difference as the Act will not regulate domestic wells at this time. Your District Office might see a change in how the Ministry monitors municipal consumption.

So for now you can continue to sip your beverages in contented assurance that the river flows, the sun shines, and your taps can regulate your personal use.

 

Merlin Nichols, Mayor