With no water there is no life

Sandspit Shingle by Gaetano: For Sandspit Thursday, February 4, 2016 marked the 10th Anniversary of over 200 hookups to our water system.

  • Feb. 26, 2016 1:00 p.m.

Sitting on the ‘Kwuna’ to Charlotte bouncing through the waves with Sandspit’s Operator of our Water System jolts us both back to reality on how we humans take for granted one very basic need – water.   With no water there is no life!  For Sandspit Thursday, February 4, 2016 marked the 10th Anniversary of over 200 hookups to our water system.  “On that day the very first customer hookup to our water system was when I dug the ditch for burying her water line that I had just connected to our water system’.  One of our elders Arlene Harding, born and raised on Haida Gwaii was the very first customer.   Arlene lives along Alliford Bay Road, next to the Gas Station.   Rainbow coloured yellow, rusty orange to brown laundry and toilet stains was two of the impetus that brought a community together.  After months and countless hours of external studies, research and haggling the Sandspit Water Project became a reality in 2005 then operational January in 2006.   Unfortunately power problems to the #7 pump delayed the actual hookup by one month, 10 years ago last Thursday!   Three insignificant Pump Houses now meet the needs of our small community. Where are they? One is behind Sid’s palace; one at the entrance to the Sandspit Golf Course Societies Golf Course and the third next to Norie Buth’s trailer in the Jones Trailer Court, corner of Spruce Road where the ‘back swamp’ becomes the town supply’s source.   When asked why there?  “It was basically a scientific deduction of where good ground water was, I never put it in so not sure if it was a lot of ‘guess work’.   Engineering firm West-Mar out of North Vancouver and ‘local’ contractor Stewart Contracting from Campbell River broke ground”.   “Don’t know if the project was ‘on budget’ or not?  I heard a lot of conflicting stories!   Every household was supposed to get $1,000.00 but that eventually became $400.00 then “it” just disappeared!  Once up & running Regional District, owners of the water system put in water meters, a move that became very unpopular.   They stopped charging by the cubic meter on how much people were using but now I still meter the water, taking readings every 3 months; record my findings and report to Moresby Island Management Committee and our local government, the Regional District. The community did not pay for the installation, it was all covered by grants.   Now recovering operating costs like my wages and the 16 tons of bleach that I put into the system is through our tax base.”  The worst area for ‘bad’ water was where I live out in Hardingville subdivision developed by Arlene’s late husband, Randy Harding’s dad when they settled in Sandspit way back when.   According to the Operator Hardingville’s town supply is sourced from the Sandspit Golf Course Society Golf Club Pump House. Tis quite a bit ‘softer’ compared to ‘hard’ water in other areas of town.  The ‘hard as nails’ properties is a result of seashells in the  gravel picking up calcium and manganese, a chemical element in nature found in combination with iron giving the rainbow streak.   Whole House Charcoal filters are used to treat water just as it comes into the home for toilet, showers and water tanks to take the chlorine out.   Were there other issues that ‘popped’ up during installation? Yes there was!  To date consumption remains below 100,000 litres through the month of January a trend that has not been seen since the early days of the water system.   The unusually warm winter we’re experiencing has kept consumption low as homeowners have not had to leave any taps running to prevent freezing up of pipes.   A Nanofiltration Treatment System is being looked at to address the concern of the waters organic content!  Will bring details of this endeavour when they surface.

Our aquatic friends certainly don’t take the water of the earth for granted.   They in fact depend on us to become ‘keeper of the waters’ through the countless volunteer hours of local organisations such as the Hecate Strait Stream keepers and Alliford Bay Enhancement Group.   As of January 27th, 2016 the Alliford Bay Enhancement group has bloomed into the Sandspit Salmon Enhancement Society to continue the volunteer operation of the Alliford Bay Hatchery including brood stock collection, egg takes, incubation, rearing as well as related activities such as stock assessment, public education.  In order to carry out these important tasks along with insurances, administration, transportation, supplies, equipment volunteers are needed so if you need a breath of fresh air,  a little bit of exercise and don’t mind getting your hands all slimy and dirty join me in doing just that, taking care of our ecosystems, our environment, our recreation, our health, our sustenance, our living planet through the SSES.  And yes, there is more to come on the role  the Sandspit Salmon Enhancement Society  plays in our little community!

This weeks edition is being donated to Sandspit Salmon Enhancement Society.