Possible water solution found
Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014 08:38 am
It may not be long before Diamond Valley residents can clink their glasses to the end of the community’s water problems.
Town of Turner Valley administration told Turner Valley council of the potential for a new raw water well and water intake pipeline system that could meet current and future water demands in Black Diamond and Turner Valley at council’s committee of the whole meeting on Monday.
Turner Valley has been supplying water to Black Diamond for almost seven months after Black Diamond lost its water treatment plant in the 2013 flood. Meanwhile, Turner Valley has been operating on just one well.
The Town hired Calgary’s MPE Engineering to develop new raw water wells adjacent to the Sheep River, but the company ran dry up until now, said Ray Reid, Turner Valley Business Plan Administrator.
“Our engineers tried drilling two other wells and found iron magnesium content that was not acceptable,” he said.
However, an adequate supply was recently found that could provide 750 cubic metres of water daily.
Reid said MPE Engineering is also proposing a web of perforated intake pipes adjacent to the Sheep River to intercept water flowing along the bedrock, called an infiltration gallery.
“It’s not a gloom and doom story,” he said. “It looks like we will be in position to start adding water to our reservoir from wells and the infiltration gallery.”
Town of Turner Valley director of engineering and operations Andy Pfeifer said quotes given to install the pipe and pumps needed for the gallery, as well as mechanical and electrical work, is projected at $1.4 million. The costs will be covered by the Province’s Disaster Recovery Program, he added.
Reid told council the situation is critical as water is being depleted by about 600 cubic metres a day.
“We are currently in a situation where we have one well supplying both communities at a rate of about 900 cubic metres a day,” he said. “Both communities are using 1,500 cubic metres a day.”
Reid said the communities have less than 80 days of water remaining.
“If something were to happen to our one well we would run out of water by the end of March,” he said.
“If we run out of water by the end of March and everything was still frozen, which it will be, we will have no access to raw water supply for both communities. That’s quite a serious risk.”
Water depletion isn’t a result of residents not abiding by water restrictions implemented after the flood. Reid said reports show consumption is down 30 per cent from last year.
Until the projects are approved and completed, Coun. Barry Williamson said residents must continue to be diligent.
“It never hurts to continue to remind the public that the problem is not going away,” he said.
Coun. Barry Crane said he is concerned that not all residents are complying to the water restrictions.
“I’ve been to three residences in the last week and they are not concerned about usage of water at all,” he said, adding in one case a resident ran the tap while doing other tasks around the house.
Coun. Lane Park echoed Crane’s concerns.
“I talked to a couple of Black Diamond residents and they had no clue there was water restrictions at all,” he said.
Tuck said there is signage in the community informing residents that the restrictions are still in place.
“It’s on every sideboard,” she said.
Turner Valley Chief Administrative Officer Leslie Fitzgerald said information was sent to all homes informing residents of the restrictions following the flood last summer.
“Again, it’s the case of people not knowing or even turfing municipal mail before they even open it,” she said.
Reid said the problem cannot be all that bad when the reports show a reduction in water usage from the previous year.