The City of Abbotsford announced that the province is providing $62 million to build a new well and water-treatment system to ensure a reliable, resilient water service for more than 165,000 people in response to growing climate-related threats.
“We’re creating a new, resilient water supply that will help ensure a safe water source during extreme weather events,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “This project will create climate resilience by helping protect people, sustain public health services and keep businesses operating during these ever-increasing climate disasters.”
Upgrades and additions to the Abbotsford drinking water system will mean water reliability and safety for Abbotsford, Mission and the Matsqui First Nation, as well as homes, a regional cancer facility, senior care homes, farms and agricultural processing.
The budget for the Abbotsford Drinking Water Resilience Project is $84.4 million. The remainder of funding will come from the Abbotsford Mission Water Sewer Commission.
“The City of Abbotsford is truly grateful for this significant investment by the Province in a new drinking water system for our residents,” said Henry Braun, mayor of Abbotsford. “A more reliable and resilient water source is one of our community’s most critical infrastructure needs, and we are thankful to be receiving support for this vital project.”
The current water source is vulnerable to climate-related events, such as floods or wildfires, and was compromised during the November 2021 floods, which caused 85 per cent of Abbotsford’s water supply to be offline.
“Climate resiliency is essential for not only the health and safety of people in our communities but also for their peace of mind,” said Pam Alexis, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission. “We know the damage that atmospheric rivers can wreak, and by tackling these climate threats head on, Abbotsford and the surrounding area will be better prepared for the future.”
The project includes the installation of approximately 12 new wells, the construction of a water-treatment plant and a pump station to tie into the existing regional system to bring the new water source to the community.
“Ensuring our water system remains reliable in the event of a climate disaster is essential to the future of the economy of the region, and to the well-being of the people that live here,” said Bob D’Eith, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission. “A number of local industries count on a reliable water supply, including agriculture, senior care, health care and academics.”
The Abbotsford Mission Water Sewer Commission operates the drinking water system, which serves the cities of Abbotsford and Mission, the Matsqui First Nation and the Stave-Cedar connection in the Fraser Valley Regional District.
Featured image: Flooding in Abbotsford, B.C. November, 2021. (BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)