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Englishman River Water Service Project

Englishman River

Englishman River

Englishman River Water Service  (ERWS) is improving the water system for the City of Parksville and the Regional District of Nanaimo. They are using PlaceSpeak to promote public understanding of this project, enable community members to give input, and to make sure the preferred design has broad-based support. Business owners and residents living in the area served by ERWS are invited to take part in the discussions, surveys and polls which will be posted to this site in the coming months.

Join the Discussion


The Englishman River Water Service (ERWS) is a joint venture agreement between the City of Parksville and the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN), set up to fund and provide water supply. The mission of the ERWS is the environmentally sensitive use of water to improve fish habitat and domestic water supply. Realizing this mission requires careful management of our water supply sources and starts with water conservation, water use reduction and water  re-use/recycling initiatives.

However, based on forecasts, managing demand on its own will not be enough to make sure water supply and quality, while supporting fisheries (especially during the summer when water levels are low). Additional water supply capacity needs to be developed to serve our growing population and to make sure that we are ready for climate change impacts. ERWS is therefore developing a project that meets the future water needs of the City of Parksville and the RDN and that will:

  1. Meet water quality standards – To comply with policies set out by the province and regulated by Island Health (Vancouver Island Health Authority), by 2016, water from the Englishman River must be treated to a higher standard to reduce possible health risks.
  2. Provide a reliable water supply – Well capacity is declining, yet our population is growing. Water from the Englishman River supplements drinking water from wells. However, it can become turbid (muddy) in the fall and winter months. A water treatment facility is required to ensure adequate supply capacity for the region throughout the year.
  3. Enhance sustainability – The project will support a healthy river system by improving the flow of water in the river and by enabling groundwater infiltration. By maintaining river flows throughout the year, the project will also improve conditions for fish in the Englishman River. The proposed Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) system would extract river water in the winter, and store it underground for use in drier, summer months. This could reduce the amount of water which needs to be drawn from the river (by as much as 50 percent) during the summer months when fish need water the most. The project also aims to reduce the amount of energy used, decrease waste produced and minimize the use of chemicals in the water treatment process.
  4. Maintain affordability – The water treatment facility will be designed, phased and constructed in response to local needs and to meet allocated budgets. The project will incorporate operational efficiencies to reduce operating costs.

Project Components

The ERWS project comprises the following components:

  • A new river water supply intake which will take water from the river. It will be carefully designed to take into account the needs of river users and fish.
  • A new water treatment plant which will treat river water to meet Island Health’s drinking water quality standards, as well as a distribution system to deliver water to homes and businesses.
  • An aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) system, which will enable water extracted in the winter (when supply is plentiful) to be stored and used in the summer. This will reduce the amount of water that needs to be taken from the Englishman River in the summer months.
  • Phased design and construction to be undertaken in response to local needs as the community grows, and to ensure affordability.

This is an essential project and community engagement is an important part of the project process. Engagement is intended to promote public understanding, enable members of the community to provide input and to make sure the preferred design has broad based support. To this end, ERWS has invited representatives of community groups from the City of Parksville, the RDN and the Nanoose First Nation to take part in a Community Working Group (CWG). The CWG will give initial inputs to the technical team on items of concern, options and issues to be addressed during the process of design development.

This presentation provides background on the need for the Project, the Project Components, and how sustainability, public health, supply reliability and cost efficiency are being addressed through the design process:

PlaceSpeak Topic

The PlaceSpeak topic page will provide the community with the latest project updates and enable citizens to give their views and feedback through surveys, discussion forums and polls. A public open house is also planned for Thursday, May 8, 2014, when the preliminary design of the intake, treatment facility and distribution facility will be available for review and comment.


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