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Origins of the Qualicum Bay Horne Lake Water Supply

Accessing the Water Supply
Bylaw 19
CHARLTON EASEMENT BYLAW – a bylaw to authorize  the execution of an agreement with Lloyd Chester Charlton and Rosina Francis Charlton.
Adopted: February 3, 1971
1.    That ROBERT PATCH, Chairman of the Trustees, and DAVID J. PRICE, Secretary of the trustees are hereby authorized to execute on behalf of the QUALICUM BAY - HORNE LAKE WATERWORKS DISTRICT as Agreement with CLOYD CHESTER CHARLTON and ROSINA FRANCIS CHARLTON relating to the acquisition of an Easement across “That part of Lot 2, District Lot 22, Newcastle District, Plan 5622, as shown outlined in red on Plan 1954 R.W.” in the terms of the Agreement hereto attached.
Bylaw 19 provided QBHLWD with Lot 2 at the end of Charlton Drive in order to build their pump house and access the Nile Creek water supply. The Nile would provide water to the district for the next 20 years.

In 1990 Nile Creek Was Still the Sole Source of Water for the District

The historical information that follows was taken verbatim from the final report of a study commissioned in 1990 by the QBHLWD board of Trustees. The objective of the study was to enable the Water District to prepare long term plans for the development of the water supply and distribution system. The study was conducted and reported by Willis Cunliffe Tait & Company Ltd. Engineers and Planners of Victoria B.C. In 1990 the existing system was described as follows:


The original Qualicum Bay-Horne Lake Water System was constructed in 1968-1969 and consisted of approximately 7000 metres of 100mm and 150mm diameter asbestos cement pipe. Since 1969 there have been ongoing upgrades to the system including water intake improvements and settling tanks, construction of a new pump station, construction of a 50,000 Imp. gallon concrete reservoir and upgrading of supply mains. Most of this work was completed between 1974 and 1975. In 1979, water quality problems became apparent and an ultraviolet sterilization system was installed in the pump station. An additional 20hp vertical turbine pump was installed in the pump station in 1981.

Water Supply

Presently the sole source of supply for the District is the Nile Creek Watershed. Water quality problems reportedly due to increased logging upstream of the intakes has been experienced since 1979. Early reports have addressed this problem and have recommended exploration of an alternative source possibly in the area of the Big Qualicum River.

The Nile Creek supply consists of two intakes and a settling tank which supplies the pump station through 900 metres of 150 diameter AC supply main. The upper most intake is presently closed and is used only as standby when the lower intake or settling tank is being serviced. The suction pressure at the pump station is approximately 22.5 psi. The pump station includes two 20hp vertical turbine barrel type pumps. One pump is capable of producing approximately 185lgpm at 240 feet total dynamic head. The pump station is also equipped with an ultraviolet sterilization system. There is no provision for standby power at the site.


The existing storage facility is a ground level concrete tank with a volume of 50,000 Imp gallons. The tank is located at the extreme opposite end of the distribution system from the supply source and pump station. The  reservoir is situated at an estimated top water level of 62.9m which creates a static head of approximately 65.0 psi at the pump station.


The present Qualicum Bay-Horne Lake water distribution system consists of approximately 13  kilometres of water-mains. The majority of the system is 150mm diameter with small sections of 200mm diameter at the pump station and reservoir. System operating pressures are approximately 85 psi static from the reservoir and in the order of 110 psi with the pump station operating.
All service connections are metered and equipped with individual pressure reducing valves set at approximately 50psi. The existing distribution system is reportedly in good condition and functions satisfactorily.


The existing population within the Study Area boundary is estimated to be 1086 people consisting of 267 residential and 31 commercial service connections. This is based on the 1989 municipal Water Consumption Report to the Ministry of Environment, Water management Branch. From these records between 1980 to 1989 an estimated average growth rate of 2.9% has occurred.

Water Demands

Records show that the Qualicum Bay Horne-Lake Waterworks District experiences seasonal high demands in the summer months of June, July and August. This can be attributed to the transient summer tourist trade. System demands are based on maximum daily flows from the Water Consumption Reports to the Ministry of Environment. The maximum daily demand in 1988 amounted to 185,000 Igpd. The recorded population that year was 1071 people. Using these two figures the calculated per capita demand is 173 Igpcd including commercial consumption.

Preliminary Groundwater Investigations

Included in the report is a proposal from Thurber Engineering Ltd of Victoria B.C.  for a groundwater supply study. The project to involve the investigation of alternative water supply sources to replace or supplement the present intake on Nile Creek. It is expected that a groundwater supply would come from one or more deep wells, likely from the Quadra Sand Aquifer overlying the bedrock in much of the area.

Switching from Surface Water to Groundwater
A 2003 report to Land and Water British Columbia Inc. from Thurber Environmental Consultants Ltd. of Victoria B.C. summarized the progression of the QBHLWD water supply as follows:

Problems with high turbidity and coliform in the Nile Creek water, forced the utility to seek a groundwater supply. Wells were drilled in 1992 and 1994 to replace the utility intake supply from the Nile Creek. The Nile Creek intake is maintained in an operational state, should it be needed in an emergency.
At that time  QBHLWD was serviced by two adjacent wells at the reservoir site on Horne Lake Road. Although two wells were drilled, only one was in use at a time - the wells awere pumped alternately and one was always a back-up.
The two 200mm (8") wells are virtually identical in lithology and yield. The wells are 30m apart and draw water from a coarse sandy gravel aquifer zone between 24 and 27 m below ground level. It is likely that this aquifer is in a gravelly portion of the Quadra sediments. The artesian aquifer is capped by a thin layer of Vashon till between 10 and 12 m below ground level. Well #1 was tested and rated in 1992 at 21L/s (330USgpm) and the potential yield could be as high as 30L/s (480USgpm) per well. Although never formally tested, we understand that well #2 is capable of producing the same amount of water as well#1.
The utility reported that the water quality meets Maximum Acceptable Concentration (MAC) for current health Standards without treatment. However, the water quality test results at the time of the drilling of well #1 indicated elevated levels of manganese and iron. Since that time the iron has moderated, but the manganese continues to be an aesthetic issue for some users.
In April 2006 a third well was drilled but never functioned properly. Finally it was re-drilled late in October 2010 and after water samples were signed off by the Health authority, it became fully operational again in May 2011.
In July 2008 the first glass infused steel reservoir which holds approximately 110,000 imperial gallons/500,000 liters was assembled on the site. A second identical reservoir followed in March 2012 and the concrete reservoir was taken off line and held in reserve as a back-up.