Letter: Response to Jan. 10 Groundwater letter to the editor

Tuesday, January 17 2017

In response to the January 10, 2017, letter to the editor I would suggest there is no problem with the quantity of water that comes to Gabriola. It is really a timing issue. The only water arriving on Gabriola is precipitation unless we count the water purchased from Nanaimo and ferried to Gabriola. Gabriola is approximately 22 square miles in size or 613 million square feet. At 36” of average annual rainfall, 11 billion gallons of precipitation lands on Gabriola annually. Divide 11 billion gallons by 5,000 people and you have 2.2 million gallons of water for each man, woman and child on Gabriola. There is no shortage of water on Gabriola, only a shortage of people willing to “do the math.” We, the people of Gabriola, can decide to drill wells into our sandstone island and discover that the water we need is continuously leaking into the ground (sand) and elsewhere. Another option is to collect and store enough water during the wet season to see us through the dry season. In addition to securing all the water we need, the water we use through the summer will be sent (through our septic systems) into the water table rather than pulling water from the water table. Possibly something the stressed cedars would appreciate. A little more math would show us that in round numbers, the addition of 33 more houses (Potlatch) to the already existing 6 million square feet of roof would enlarge the roof catchment area of the entire island by approximately one and a half per cent. In favour or not in favour of Potlatch, no more water would be “consumed” or delivered nor would less water find its way to the water table. The real issue is - are we willing to think and plan ahead or would we prefer to pay for another ever expanding and expensive government bureaucracy?

~ Richard Ralphs