Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Letter To The Editor - Jan 4, 2008 - From Ed Monteith - RE: MORE PAINFUL TRUTH

----- Original Message -----
From: Ed Monteith
To: Langley Free Press
Sent: Friday, January 04, 2008 9:56 PM
Subject: Letter to the Editor


It was indeed interesting to read Matthew Claxton's editorial in the Jan 4 edition of the Langley Advance, and to see that he, unlike most members of the township council, does not just repeat the message handed out by the bureaucrats at township hall about the very controversial water management plan.

Mr. Claxton's article shows that he has put some thought into the matter and proves this by adding a few suggestions. While I don't agree entirely with these suggestions, it does reflect the fact that there is an awful lot to discuss yet, before we the residents of this township rush blindly into something that we don't know all the facts about, and which is likely of no benefit.

Since we know and understand that the loudest objection to the plan involves the metering of private wells, I suggest we have a look at the whole well water supply scene in the township. To do this let's start with the facts that are available to us on the Langley Township web site. In 2006 township residents and businesses were sold water from the township wells to the tune of 9.33 million gallons per day! Yes, that is a lot of groundwater! There was a charge for this of $272 per year per residence, while business establishments were charged 53 cents per cubic meter. Now add to this the fact that almost every drop of the above amount of water was flushed into the township sewer system where it was treated and dumped into the Fraser River by the 82,000 or so residents who used it in 2006.

By contrast there are only about 5000 private wells in the township, and nearly every drop of water from these wells is treated by a septic system and returned to earth perhaps 100 or so meters from where it was extracted. Nature then does what it has done for millenniums. When nature does its job properly, that water can be reused. So the question is an easy one. Who's sucking our ground water into extinction?

Given the problem of our diminishing water is probably a fact, I ask everyone to think seriously about whether there is any merit in the pending water management plan, or should it be scrapped, and a new page begun. Think about how you would begin to solve it. As you do so, I hope you will see it as I do, and that is that the township itself is draining our aquifers at an alarming rate, and metering private wells will do little if anything to change that fact. It's even likely that the flow from township wells will grow as well, along with our population growth! I think that we have been led into a blind alley.

There is only one solution for both the short and long term in my opinion. That solution is to reduce our dependency on township wells, and phase in water from the Lower Mainland water sheds as quickly as we can afford to do so. If we don't take this bull by the horns, the situation will only worsen. I urge all township residents to watch this issue very carefully. It is my opinion that poor judgment on the part of some members of council, could easily commit us to something very costly, and give us nothing of value in return.

Ed Monteith

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