Water-sharing deals frought with risks

Re: City, Harmac eye water-sharing options, Feb. 9.

To the Editor,

Re: City, Harmac eye water-sharing options, Feb. 9.

In regards to water licences issued to the Greater Nanaimo Water District (now City of Nanaimo) and the original M&B Harmac mill.

The GNWD licence is issued on Jump Creek which is a tributary to the South Nanaimo River and has a designated waterworks purpose. It also has a long list of conditions.

On the other side of Green Mountain is Sadie Creek, which is tributary to the Nanaimo River, which is a different watershed and to which Harmac has a water licence. This licence has a long list of conditions.

You can change purpose, appurtenancy, and works on a water licence, however, one must make application, pay fees, post notifications, inform downstream users, and to which any person in Canada can make a written objection to.

If we see a deal is struck between the above mentioned parties without due process, then we know that the Water Act has been subverted.

It is also worthy to note, that if the water is not consumed as stated in the Conditional Water Licence, then it is subject to cancellation for non-beneficial use. That way any surplus water does not go to corporations who can make the most amount of money from it, but can be applied for by First Nations and small communities who live by the Nanaimo River without a waterworks system.

The problem lies in the fact that a corporation owns the works (dam) that creates the surplus, since historically, the Nanaimo River ran dry in the summer before the dam was created.

The Water Act is structured to be benevolent and corporations are structured to enhance shareholders’ wealth.

Mario Maibach


Nanaimo News Bulletin