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Location eyed for possible collector well

New estimate puts price tag of new water source at $81 million

Staff believe they have found the best spot for a new collector well that could provide a long-term boost to Abbotsford and Mission’s water supply.

The estimated cost of the new source has also risen a little, to $81 million, according to a report for the two municipalities’ shared services committee. That includes money for treatment and additional water transmission mains at the proposed site, which would be on city-owned land located in Matsqui Trail Regional Park, just to the southwest of Kelleher Street.

A study conducted last year found Abbotsford and Mission will need more water as they grow over the next 25 years. While the need isn’t urgent, the study has prompted the municipalities to consider the best way to increase the water supply.

That has found a collector well – which would be dug near the Fraser River, with its bottom in water-saturated rock, sand and gravel that can filter the water – would be the best long-term solution.

The price tag was estimated to be up to $74 million in the fall. The site identified as most favourable has the best “hydraulic conductivity, most favourable water quality and least exposure to river bank erosion concerns,” according to the new report.

Given the lack of urgency, Mayor Henry Braun said in December that Abbotsford could draw on their capital reserve budgets over several years in order to pay for the new water infrastructure. Mission would also be on the hook for a portion of the project.

Successful water conservation efforts over the past half-decade has decreased per capita consumption among Abbotsford residents. The collector well plan is less than $200 million less than the plan to tap Stave Lake that was pitched to voters in 2011. At that time, staff did not consider a collector well, and declined tapping the Fraser River because it was considered feasible, but unappealing to the public.

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