Groundwater Info. - Planning - May 7, 2011

Groundwater Info. - Planning - May 7, 2011

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           HELD ON SATURDAY, MAY 7, 2011 AT 10:00 AM 

PRESENT:     Peter Luckham   Chair
             Beverley Neff   Local Trustee
             Dian Johnstone  Local Trustee
             Gary Richardson Island Planner
             Ron Monk        Facilitator
             Jenna Foster    Minute Taker

There were approximately seventy (70) members of the public in attendance.
Chair Luckham opened the meeting at 10:10 a.m. and welcomed all to the workshop. 
He thanked everyone for coming together to continue the discussion regarding 
groundwater concerns on Saturna Island. The Chair introduced the panel of presenters 
thanking them as well and turned the proceedings over to the workshop facilitator, 
Saturna resident, Ron Monk.
Ron Monk stated that the workshop is an opportunity to start at ground zero and build 
from there. He suggested some general ground rules to enhance the group discussion 
and decisions as follows:

  • Be open to other opinions both expert and local
  • Start off with the same body of information
  • Allow room for different definitions of the problem
  • Determine together what is the best way to proceed
  • Agree on a clear definition of the problem(s)
  • Move towards the solution by identifying the next steps
  • Step back from the possible solution(s) and listen to others

Ron Monk reviewed the agenda for the day. He informed everyone of a couple of 
schedule changes. Pat Lapcevic will be the second speaker and Michael Payne the 
third. Mary Cooper from Mayne Island Integrated Water Systems Society is ill and 
unable able to attend. Mr. Monk encouraged everyone to check out the society's 
website and contact Mary Cooper directly with any questions.

Ron Monk stated that the workshop is being videotaped and invited Chair Luckham to 
explain the purpose.

Chair Luckham said the main intent of videotaping is to be able to disseminate the 
information to others who could not attend and possibly to other islands.

Ron Monk introduced Dr. Diana Allen as the first speaker.

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    Dr. Diana Allen commented that she has been doing research on the Gulf Islands 
    groundwater since 1997. Saturna Island was the first field sight she had and she 
    continues to do research on the Gulf Islands; putting it into more of an 
    international context.

    Dr. Allen clarified that the groundwater concerns people are having on Saturna 
    Island are shared by other island systems all over the world. She started off by 
    explaining a conceptual hydrogeological model that shows where the groundwater 
    is and how it likely moves through the rocks. She discussed the two (2) main rock 
    types; mudstones and sandstones. Dr. Allen said the research suggests that the 
    fractures are closely spaced in the mudstone and widely spaced in the sandstone. 
    Therefore, the mudstone has a greater capacity for holding water. As well, the 
    rocks tilt at different angles and there is a general potential for the water to move 
    more in the down dip direction across the island. Dr. Allen added that the other 
    aspect to consider is that proximity to fault zones also affects the movement of 

    The presenter said that there are always questions about recharge and on 
    Saturna Island the recharge areas are locally derived. Two things that prove this 
    are first, there is inter-annual variation of the groundwater level. Secondly, the 
    recharge is locally derived as proven by the chemistry of the water. The first 
    study on Saturna Island done back in 1997and 1998 where several wells were 
    tested resulted in a standard water chemistry database for the island's 

    Dr. Allen continued to explain that recharge occurs over a significant portion of the 
    island as evidenced by calcium bicarbonate type water. This is very fresh
    water and it can be found mainly in the higher elevations on Saturna Island. 
    Recharge is also highly dependent on topography and Dr. Allen described how 
    higher elevations tend to receive the recharge and direct it down towards the 
    groundwater flow system. She stated that lower elevation areas are also 
    important to groundwater recharge.

    Dr. Allen showed a graph of a Mayne Island well pointing out the normal decrease 
    and increase of water level over the year. The pattern of this well, she stated, is 
    typical for all the Gulf Islands.

    A diagram from the 1997 study on Saturna Island where water samples were 
    taken from all over the island clearly showed the transition of wells going 
    towards increased salinity or sodium chloride type water.

    Dr. Allen talked about the difficulty in quantifying recharge. She stated that the 
    most common percentage used is twenty (20). Dr. Allen summarized several 
    studies that attempted to quantify recharge with the conclusion that you cannot 
    quantify recharge accurately.

    The presenter said it is possible to identify recharge sensitive areas however. 
    These are areas where salt water intrusion is prevalent. Dr. Allen explained that 
    a combination of excessive pumping and limited recharge is the primary reason 
    for an area to become stressed.
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     Dr. Allen showed a diagram of the freshwater lens under Saturna Island. At the 
     top of the lens the water is very fresh, calcium bicarbonate type. When you move
     down towards contact with the sea water it becomes gradually more saline, 
     sodium chloride type.

     Dr. Allen described the positive effect of high topography because it forces the 
     fresh water to push the sea water away. The higher the topography the greater 
     the driving force to push the seawater out. There are two conditions, she stated,
     that draw the seawater in. The first is a low gradient and driving force which 
     lowers the water table. Secondly, when you start pumping this draws the salt 
     water in.

     The presenter stated that the last couple of slides represent some new research 
     aimed at developing a water security index for Canada. She described it as a
     community based framework to gain control of water knowledge and utilize 
     monitoring at the community level. Then the locally gathered data could enable 
     decision making around land use and development.

     Dr. Allen continued to explain that one of the measures used is the Canadian 
     Council of Ministries of Environment water quality index calculator. It measures 
     water as excellent, good, fair, marginal or poor. She described the results of
     running the Saturna Island water data gathered from 1997 through the index. 
     Ninety-two (92) samples from across the island were tested; fifty-one (51) scored 
     excellent, twenty-two (22) good, seven (7) fair, seven (7) marginal and five (5) 
     poor. Dr. Allen said that out of the thirty-five samples from East Point, six
     were in the poor to marginal range.

     The last slide showed the aquifer vulnerability and susceptibility to saltwater 
     intrusion for the Gulf Islands. The low lying areas of East Point on Saturna Island, 
     all around Pender Island and the centre of Mayne Island were shown as very high 
     risk areas for saltwater intrusion.

Ron Monk thanked Dr. Allen and introduced Pat Lapcevic with the Ministry of Forests, 
Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

     Pat Lapcevic invited any questions on the provincial regulatory framework i.e.
     Water Act and how the Act deals with groundwater now and potentially in the 
     future. She said that she will highlight the study that was done a couple of 
     years ago at East Point looking at the conductivity of the water as an analog for
     saltwater intrusion. She stated that she will talk about what they have done after 
     the study and what they hope to do in the future.

     Pat Lapcevic began by stating that groundwater is a very important and viable 
     source of water for the Gulf Islands. The groundwater is highly variable in quality 
     and in how it recharges (quantity). She stated that saltwater intrusion is not new.

     In 2009 the Saturna Island Water Conservation Committee contacted her to 
     initiate some study of the East Point Peninsula groundwater. The study involved 
     two observation wells and showed that East Point does have variability of 
     quantity and quality of groundwater.
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     She stated that it clearly showed the impact pumping has on saltwater intrusion. 
     There is a lack of topography at East Point and therefore, not as much recharge.
     Pat Lapcevic described how the study measured conductivity by calculating 
     chloride concentrations. The results showed concentrations from 3 to 2592 mg/L. 
     These results were compared to some previous studies of Saturna Island 
     groundwater. The conclusion was that the East Point groundwater was worsening 
     over time due to saltwater intrusion.

     The presenter concluded that several factors are involved. The issue is related to 
     several wells and not a single source. As well, the recharge is insufficient for a 
     reversal of trends. Pat Lapcevic stated that the groundwater is still viable as a
     source of freshwater on the western end of the East Point Peninsula but is 
     questionable elsewhere.

     Pat Lapcevic continued to address what is being done at East Point. She said 
     they are working with the owners of the East Point Cottage wells and 
     communicate with all East Point property owners who have their wells tested. 
     There have been two community meetings. Education and outreach are very 
     important and will continue. She said they communicate with and provide 
     information/advice to owners and drillers of new wells. Ongoing follow-up with
     owners is vital, she said, and the Water Act continues to change and support 

     Pat Lapcevic concluded that education and outreach were primary as well as 
     voluntary change. She said the Water Act does have a role to play when a salty 
     well is pumped. The presenter concluded that monitoring is ongoing and that 
     longer term solutions may be water catchment and/or community water systems.

Ron Monk thanked Pat Lapsevic and introduced the third speaker, Michael Payne of 
Payne Engineering.

     Michael Payne stated that Islands Trust invited him to attend the workshop 
     because he has been working with the owners of East Point Cottages to solve 
     their water problems. He said the main issue is saltwater in the wells along with 
     low yield wells. Mr. Payne discussed the challenge of managing the freshwater 
     lens under the ground which is thin on the east part of the Peninsula. The salinity 
     of the wells, he said, is a result of natural occurrence as well as pumping. Other 
     factors he mentioned as having a possible effect are the seasonal use of 
     groundwater and variability of the water due to fractures in the ground.

     Mr. Payne stated that they have been working on a way to manage the water use
     at the cottages. The water has gotten worse over time which is likely due to 
     combined pumping over time. He also explained that some of the wells at East 
     Point are too deep while others have the pump too deep in the well. This results 
     in saltwater being pulled from the well and the surrounding aquifer. The presenter
     said the small lots at East Point have an impact because the wells are close 
     together leading to over pumping of the aquifer.

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    Mr. Payne suggested that all these factors combined with limited recharge due to 
    low topography have stressed the groundwater system.

    The presenter identified some possible solutions starting with drilling shallow wells 
    and placing pumps higher in the well. He stated that the disadvantage is you 
    cannot pull as much water from the well so you need to include water 
    conservation. Mr. Payne suggested that water storage could be helpful especially
    during the times when the groundwater is more saline. Water catchment, he 
    explained, does require filters and disinfectant to be used inside the household. 
    The type of container is important as well to ensure that the unused water will be 
    directed back into the aquifer. He stressed that ongoing monitoring of wells and 
    aquifer is vital.

    Mr. Payne suggested that in the long term a community water system for East 
    Point may be the logical solution since it alleviates some of the concern on how 
    future development will affect the groundwater resource. The presenter noted 
    that the challenge of a community water system is it requires strong community 
    support and a source of funding.

Ron Monk thanked Michael Payne and invited a discussion between the three speakers.

    Michael Payne asked the other speakers what they would identify as the highest 
    priorities for individuals working to improve the situation at East Point.

    Dr. Diana Allen responded with the suggestion to start with sampling everyone's
    well to build an accurate and current data base of the water chemistry. She 
    stated that this is the first step before further planning. Her feedback on a 
    community water system was that the there is a risk because with one large well 
    the recharge needs to be very good or the saltwater can be sucked up very fast. 
    A network of smaller wells and pumping at sustainable rates to take advantage of 
    seasonal rainfall Dr. Allen said, would be a more viable community water system.

    Pat Lapcevic stated that the well depth is important and the water needs to be
    sampled. She said some wells are too deep because there was not enough 
    water higher up. East Point, she continued, is made up of old sandstone and the 
    problems are worse there because of the lack of mudstone which will hold larger 
    volumes of water. Pat Lapcevic also described how the rock units dip north which 
    means that a lot of the wells on the south side are saline because the rain runs 
    north and recharges those wells.

    Michael Payne added that the development around the perimeter of the East 
    Point Peninsula can contribute to increased saltwater intrusion. He stated that 
    sometimes it could be one fracture that caused a well to go salty. In the 
    sandstone, he clarified, the fractures are widely spaced and this can also cause 
    unusual interrelations between wells.

Ron Monk directed the group to take a short break for 10 minutes until 11:30 am. 
Ron Monk introduced the next speaker, Erwin Dyck with the Vancouver Island Health 

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    Erwin Dyck said that he was available to answer any questions on the 
    composition of water as well as information on safe drinking water. He clarified 
    that Vancouver Island Health Authority regulates all public wells but not wells of 
    private residences. Mr. Dyck continued that he has been involved in discussions 
    past and present on the water issues at East Point Peninsula.

Ron Monk thanked Erwin Dyck and introduced Janet Land with the Saturna Water 
Conservation Committee.

    Janet Land thanked the Islands Trust, the local water committee and the 
    presenters. She acknowledged the work of Brian Dixon-Warren over the years as 
    sometimes a lone voice of concern until the summer of 1989 when the extent of 
    the water issue at East Point became more prevalent.

    Janet Land stated that she has lived full-time on Saturna Island for twelve years 
    and part-time for three years. She commented that the world of saltwater 
    intrusion is new especially when you come from the city. The understanding that 
    each well user whether a part-time or full-time resident, has the potential to cause 
    saltwater intrusion is very important. In addition, the continued use of a saltwater 
    well can have a serious negative impact on all surrounding wells. The speaker 
    added another concern is the lack of space for water catchment on small lots like 
    hers. Janet Land continued stating that water is a common resource and while 
    the current situation is complicated it is vital to do what is needed to protect the 
    aquifer. She concluded that there was no one way to solve the problem and it will 
    take working together as a community along with regulatory agencies and experts 
    to find solutions.

Ron Monk commented that there was a balance between property rights and the needs 
of the community as a whole; he assured the group that this would be a part of the 
discussion as well. He went on to introduce the final speaker, Gary Richardson, Planner 
for Islands Trust.

    Gary Richardson welcomed everyone. He started by clarifying that most of the
    lots at East Point were created before the Islands Trust came into existence. 
    Planner Richardson said that there are one hundred and seventeen (117) small 
    lots East Point and fifty-three (53) are still vacant. He continued to explain that
    almost all the subdivision has taken place except for a large lot in the centre.

    Planner Richardson agreed that there needs to be a balance between recharge 
    and the amount of water taken out. He asked the question regarding what tools 
    the Islands Trust has available to assist with protecting the aquifer. His list of 
    potential tools included:

    •   Reduce development by taking development rights away (not really 
        feasible he said)
    •   Transfer development by upzoning one area and downzoning another but 
        this is difficult with multiple owners
    •   Adopting bylaws such as bylaw 99 which deals with water catchment 
        reducing some pressure on the aquifer

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    •   Amenity zoning where the amenity could be something that promotes water
    •   Development permits that protect natural environment and/or conserve 
    •   Identify areas as critical and work with experts on development permit 
    •   Exclusion of all sorts of activities based on best science
    •   Limit the number of water consuming fixtures per household
    •   Continued education and outreach i.e. public meetings and planning 

    Planner Richardson concluded that the community water system solution needs to 
    come from the community. He confirmed that the community coming together 
    today is important to discuss what the problems are and the possible solutions.

Ron Monk suggested that a twenty minute question and answer period could happen 
until lunch arrived. He invited Capital Region District (CRD) Director, Ken Hancock, to 
join the panel of speakers up front. Mr. Monk reminded the group to focus on the 
information and understanding. He encouraged questions for the panel and for anyone 
in attendance.

John Money commented that since the East Point lens is small it would make sense to 
store water. He asked Pat Lapcevic and Dr. Diana Allen how they felt about ponds and 
surface water storage for East Point.

Dr. Diana Allen said you need to think about where the water is coming from. If you are 
storing water in a recharge area then she would be concerned about altering the natural 
environment. She stated that it is not a good idea to mess around in a sensitive area 
because not enough is known about the effects.

Pat Lapcevic reinforced that a sensitive area needs consideration. She said she was 
not opposed to storage and creating new storage with new ponds for rainwater 
catchment has possibilities. One must also be careful of dam storage she warned.

Hugh Grasswick asked whether checking sodium levels is enough when monitoring for 
saltwater intrusion.

Dr. Diana Allen responded and encouraged the use of a conductivity meter as a very 
practical method of monitoring. Sodium is there naturally she said, so it is better to 
check for electrical conductivity.

Beverly Vreeswijk questioned the panel on the impact of human activities such as the 
cutting down of trees and creating impermeable surfaces such as paved driveways.

Michael Payne stated that the total impermeable surface at East Point is probably less 
than 10%. This could increase with development but the type of rural development at 
East Point does not have a huge impact because the roads and driveways are not 

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Andrew Money asked Ken Hancock why the regulations regarding rainwater catchment 
were so stringent since they made it more onerous for homebuilders.

Ken Hancock explained that under the current regime, a homeowner requires a 
covenant to address the challenges with rainwater catchment since it is seen as an 
unconventional way to get potable water. Part of the reason for this, he said, is it informs 
subsequent property owners that the rainwater catchment system has unique ongoing 
maintenance requirements.

Secondly, Mr. Hancock said the covenant ensures that the CRD is not held responsible 
or liable. He commented that the policy is currently under review and the committee has 
come up with a bylaw amendment that has no covenant. The committee has asked for a 
decrease in the building inspection fee in regards to rainwater catchment as well. Ken 
Hancock estimated that the cost of a well engineered rainwater catchment system is 
about thirty-five thousand dollars ($35,000) in total.

Phil Mesner expressed his thanks to the Islands Trust for getting the community 
together to talk about the water issues. He commented that the issue of water is world 
wide and as soon as you can find common ground with your opponents the better. He 
concluded that solutions can be found.

* Note - Ron Monk announced that the meeting would break for lunch until 1:05 pm.

Ron Monk welcomed everyone back and stated that the question and answer part of the 
day would continue until 1:45 pm.

John Gaines said he felt that the Islands Trust had become anti-development. One of 
the requirements for development is proof of potable water. He disagreed that water 
should be a provision for the initial development of land.

Planner Richardson responded by stating that the Saturna Land Use bylaw does not 
require proof of potable water for subdivisions so the decision goes to the provincial 
approving officer. Planner Richardson explained that he has asked the officer if he 
would consider rainwater catchment as proof of potable water and he said no.

Trevor Morris asked the panel about what effect clear-cut logging on the Indian reserve 
would have on East Point.

Michael Payne stated that East Point is a large area and it is uncertain what effect it 
would have. He continued that water run-off and recharge could be impacted but he is 
not sure of the degree.

Dr. Diana Allen added that there is a water catchment area in the Okanagan basin 
where they are testing this. She said the likely possibility is increased run-off with less 
recharge but then the trees will use less so that would leave more run-off. She 
concluded that they need to do further monitoring.

Janet Land asked Dr. Allen about one of the slides in her presentation showing aquifer 
vulnerability in the interior of the East Point Peninsula.

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Dr. Diana Allen responded that there were so many parameters measured and a small 
dot was not significant on a map done at that scale.

Bill Schermbrucker asked about using gray water for toilets, etc.

CRD Director, Ken Hancock responded that the building code does provide for the use 
of purple water (rainwater catchment) for toilets but not gray water. He explained that 
gray water degrades fast and there is a risk of cross contamination.

Erwin Dyck with VIHA added that gray water is legally defined as sewage and has to be 
treated before going into ground.

Janet Land commented that she knows homeowners on Pender Island who have built a 
large cistern in their basement for rainwater catchment which is used in the toilets in the 
house. The key, she said, is how you design your home.

Jude White invited all who were thinking about or already had rainwater catchment to 
get together to talk about purchasing equipment as a group to keep costs down.

Susie Washington-Smyth followed up on an earlier question regarding the costs of 
rainwater catchment and the need to test more frequently.

Ken Hancock responded by stating that proof of clean drinking water needs to be 

Priscilla Ewbank inquired with fifty-three (53) more lots at East Point still to be 
developed is there some shared responsibility between private homeowners and 
perhaps the larger community. She said she is especially interested in examples of 
more socially shared solutions.

Dr. Diana Allen highlighted two examples. She said there is a large scale example in 
the Bahamas at NASA on Paradise Island where the water is piped from another island 
nearby. Secondly, she gave the example of West Africa where there is a community well 
and everyone goes to the site to collect their water. She continued that it is not possible 
sustain the water level at East Point. One solution she said would be for everyone at 
East Point to agree on a community water system that would not impact any one person 

John Money clarified that the approving officer is an independent person who does not 
work for the Ministry of Highways. He added that logging does not necessarily mean 
clear-cutting. He said the natives had no intention of clear-cutting at East Point.

Andrew Money asked Erwin Dyck about the best way to treat rainwater to make it 
potable and what is the expense.

Erwin Dyck replied that the method and expense is the same for treating any kind of 
surface water because you cannot control the source.

Andrew Money asked if there was a way to increase recharge.

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Michael Payne stated that a partial answer is that forest cover encourages groundwater 
recharge. He said if you are looking at artificial groundwater recharge then a standard 
way to do this is to have a basin or large pond lined with sand which encourages water 
to infiltrate into the ground. The vegetation for this is more complex he said.

Dr. Diana Allen said the problem with the surface solution is that the permeability of the 
ground could be so slow that it has no great impact. Artificial recharge is done in areas 
she stated, where there is very permeable ground and a large holding capacity for the 

Priscilla Zimmerman commented that regulations need to change where there is a 
deadline for the occupancy permit. She suggested the CRD should start a certification 
process to get the occupancy permit.

Director Ken Hancock said the problem is finding someone to do that. He said an 
expert has to sign off and unfortunately, this is expensive but still a part of the regulation 
and building code. Mr. Hancock said the CRD is open to looking at it.

John Money suggested that the CRD will have to set up a process.

Director Ken Hancock replied that he would be interested to see any other jurisdiction 
in BC not requiring an engineer to sign off.

Bill Schermbrucker directed a question to Dr. Allen regarding creating ponds for 
rainwater catchment.

Dr. Diana Allen explained that when they did testing on Saturna Island, all the swamps 
tested were contributing to recharge. She said the one at East Point did have a different 
chemistry suggesting some recharge and some discharge. She clarified her earlier 
comment regarding that there is significant risk when you alter the natural environment 
especially in an area known to be sensitive.

Dave Payton stated that he was confused about needing the engineer to sign off which 
places a criteria on water catchment making it more expensive. He suggested that a 
group of people interested in water catchment needed to come together to discuss this in 
more detail.

Director Ken Hancock responded saying that the CRD is definitely willing to look at 
reducing the cost.

Dave Payton questioned why rainwater catchment is treated as a special case. The 
expense, he said, is not justified.

Director Ken Hancock said that water catchment and potable water are very different 
subjects and Bylaw 99 only refers to water catchment.

Ron Monk suggested that everyone take a break for 15 minutes until 2:00 pm.

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Ron Monk said the next part of the meeting was to continue the discussion in small 
groups. He commented that one of the hurdles is that the water issues have been 
defined in different ways based on different concerns.

Ron Monk explained that the groups will be divided according to the color of dot on the 
agenda each person has. He suggested that everyone start with their same color group 
for the first part of the discussion and for the latter part he invited people to move around 
to a different table discussion if they wished. He asked that each group choose a person 
to report on their table's discussion once the larger group reconvened.

The task for each group was to define:

  • specific problems to be addressed
  • next step(s) to address the problem(s)

There were five discussion groups until 3:10 pm.

Ron Monk reconvened the large group and commented that it was very interesting to 
hear all the different perspectives expressed in the smaller groups. He invited the 
spokespeople to report on their group's discussion.

Group 1

Priscilla Ewbank reported that her group identified the water problem as having an East 
Point focus keeping in mind that there are other areas on Saturna Island that do not 
have good water either. She said her group defined sustainable water supply as 
including well water and water catchment. Part of the problem, she said, is the demand 
of future development as well as properties that use water and have no catchment. She 
continued that there is concern about different levels of development and regulatory 
requirements that are not compatible. Wells that are saline are still being used and this 
is a problem. She said her group discussed the need for better information concluding 
that the nature of well use is not equitable since wells change over time.

Ms. Ewbank identified the solutions her group discussed as follows:

  • Install meters
  • Utilize tax incentives i.e. an incentive for amalgamation of properties
  • Provide continuing education handouts at all levels

She commented that it is useful to have larger community meetings since it brings 
together a broader spectrum of people. It is especially valuable, she said, to hear from 
experts who have investigated water issues on Saturna Island.

Group 2

Trustee Dian Johnstone said her group defined the problem as water management, 
island wide with a pressing problem at East Point. She reported that they discussed the 
issue as being a storage problem with too many users and an aquifer that does not 
recharge. She stated that unfair and inequitable regulations are a concern and bylaw 99 
is not enough.
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Her group also discussed that there is no government incentive or tax rebate to support 
good water management. Finally, the number of vacant properties and pending 
development is a big concern.

Trustee Johnstone identified her group's solutions as follows:

  • Islands Trust take on an advocacy role with regulatory bodies and perhaps work 
    with the elected representative, Elizabeth May
  • Consider a rainwater collection cooperative
  • Organize advocacy and education
  • Owners and community groups work together to form an umbrella committee with 
    a view to facilitate East Point solutions
  • Look at retro-fitting all properties at East Point

Group 3

Margaret Hamer reported that her group defined the problem as not enough 
groundwater to support East Point use, specifically, storage versus supply problem. The 
discussion she said also identified that there was no data base with respect to water well 
usage or a system of metering where the data could also include a measure of water 
conductivity. Lastly, her group thought it would be useful for wells to have an automatic 
shut off.

Margaret Hamer listed the following possible solutions:

  • Install well meters
  • Encourage use of cisterns for water catchment
  • Encourage water storage
  • Promote community based guidelines
  • Educate community
  • Encourage government bodies to update and provide better responses to 
  • Identify areas of natural drainage runoff at East Point and consider water 
    catchment for those areas
  • Establish guidelines for visitors with regards to water use
  • Work collaboratively

Group 4

Andrew Money stated that his group saw the problem as the demand from the aquifer 
exceeded the supply.

He listed some the solutions his group discussed:

  • Provide general education
  • Use shallower well pumps
  • Install roof catchment systems as a supplement to well water
  • Store water to buffer demand
  • Consider both potable and non-potable storage

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  • Change CRD regulations to make them fair by reducing financial burdens of 
    rainwater catchment systems when compared to well water systems
  • CRD to consider role of advocacy to government regarding a decreased expense 
    for rainwater catchment

Group 5

Priscilla Zimmerman reported that her group discussed the need to understand the 
hydrogeology better and enhance mapping.

Some solutions her group identified included:

  • Utilize water catchment and a community water system
  • Provide some compensation for those who have good well water
  • Install low flow well pumps
  • Prevent what happened at East Point

John Money added that a potential solution might be to have a water system for 
household water use only and utilize water catchment for other water needs. He said 
you could identify the good wells and use them for developing small water systems. 
Lastly, he commented that a community system could also measure water usage.

Ron Monk stated that all of this is going to require money and asked the group what the 
next steps might be.

Susie Washington-Smyth suggested that information needs to go out to all community 
organizations including the Saturna Island Property Owners Association (SIPOA).

John Money commented that a possible vehicle for funds for an East Point water 
system might be the Capital Region District (CRD).

Priscilla Ewbank stated that the Saturna Island Water Committee would be a logical 
group to take this further. She said she also had a specific request for Dr. Diana Allen to 
provide an overview of her work done on Saturna Island specifically.

Dr. Diana Allen replied that she does not have time today. She reported that she will 
continue to do research on the Gulf Islands. Dr. Allen encouraged Saturna Island 
residents to consider setting up a monitoring system similar to the one they had in the 
past. Dr. Allen said that Mayne Island is interested as well and she would be very happy 
to provide assistance to get it up and running.

John Money stressed that we already know we have a problem at East Point and a plan 
is needed.

Andrew Money asked Director Ken Hancock to advocate on behalf of Saturna Island to 
the provincial government to reduce the cost of rainwater catchment.

Director Ken Hancock replied that the cost of treating and delivering water is high. 
Currently, he said, we have some small water districts which are costly.

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He said meeting the provincial standard of technology and equipment for water systems 
is expensive even with a hundred (100) or more rate payers. Mr. Hancock continued to 
say that water is a common resource and traditionally we have had a very 
unsophisticated approach to utilizing it. He agreed that regulation currently is a problem 
and yet we also need regulation. His suggestion would be to first improve the data base 
by developing a current monitoring program. Then, he said, solutions may be clearer. 
He concluded by stating that he felt any solution would have to come from the 
community and the CRD would continue in a regulatory role.

Ron Monk added that from a community perspective the CRD would likely get out of the 
way if a good solution to the problem was presented.

Chair Luckham responded that at the next Islands Trust meeting the information from 
the workshop will be reviewed and a decision made about what direction to take. He 
commented that the role of the local Islands Trust committee is to sift through the 
information and find the common threads. He continued that if there is an agency or 
government regulation in the way of a solution, then the Islands Trust can advocate 
directly to those bodies. Chair Luckham concluded that more discussion would be 

Trustee Dian Johnstone thanked facilitator Ron Monk for the great job he did on 
planning and facilitating the meeting.

Ron Monk thanked the speakers for coming on a Saturday to the workshop.

Chair Luckham said that there will be a report come out from Islands Trust on the 
planning session and thanked everyone for attending.

       RECORDER                      DATE

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