Metro Vancouver is quite far along in a proposal to harness hydro power from our drinking water spillways at the Capilano reservoir’s Cleveland Dam and also at the Seymour reservoir. Although at first glance it might seem like a good idea, this plan introduces a new and potentially competing factor affecting the allocation of our local water supply.
The wisdom of this proposed endeavour is questionable given the growing risks of unpredictable climate change, environmentally intrusive construction, the involvement of private interests in a precious public asset, plus concerns about actual rather than theoretical economic viability.
Residents of Metro Van would care if they knew
The allocation and treatment of drinking water is a topic about which the public is increasingly concerned and passionate. However, residents of Metro Vancouver are virtually unaware of this proposal which was recently unanimously endorsed (September 2012) by the Board overseeing the project.
Earlier hydro power proposal shot down
This is not the first time hydro power generation from our water spills has been proposed. After serious consideration, a similar proposal was rejected some years ago.
Opportunity for public input poorly advertised
Metro Vancouver is required to consult with the public about this proposal. Appallingly, a ‘public consultation’ held on October 10, 2012 was attended by less than 50 members of the public. This was surely not an indication of lack of public interest. Rather, it indicates that ineffective and antiquated methods were used for announcing this opportunity for public input.
What you can do
This project is called the Joint Water Use Plan for the Capilano and Seymour watersheds (JWUP).
It has serious implications regarding the future use of our local water supplies and public funds.
Effective consultation with the public is needed.
You can find out more about it here.
You can submit official feedback by October 19, 2012 here.
You can tell Metro Vancouver what you think about this JWUP proposal by emailing: email@example.com
Mary Johnston represents watermatters, a Vancouver-based business specializing in water treatment equipment