It’s been another dry year for George Croy, who lives on Khenipsen Road in North Cowichan.
Croy, who, along with his neighbours, operates his household off a well, wants the Municipality of North Cowichan to connect the houses on his road to municipal water services.
He said he has had to take down some of the large old-growth trees on his one-acre waterfront property this year that have died due to lack of water.
During last year’s summer drought, Croy hired a water company to dump 3,600 gallons of water on his property in an effort to save some of his treasured trees.
“My well only pumps about two gallons a minute so all I have been doing is moving a sprinkler with barely enough water coming out of it from tree to tree every day,” he said.
“It had little effect after more than 50 days with no precipitation, and now I have to remove some of the trees that have died.”
Croy said he has been raising the issue with the municipality for some time, but is still waiting for some action to have the area hooked onto the municipal water system.
He said he has bigger fears about the homes in the area in the event of fires due to the lack of water services.
“We have no fire-fighting ability here with no water services,” Croy said.
“There ’s also the fact that Khenipsen Road is so narrow that two fire trucks can’t sit together, and two cars can barely pass one another going in opposite directions. We want these issues dealt with.”
David Conway, North Cowichan’s director of engineering, said the municipality has no plans at this time to expand its water systems to include Khenipsen Road.
He said the closest water main to connect the houses to on the road is Donnay Drive, which is two kilometres away, and that would be a big expense for the small number of homes that are there.
Conway said North Cowichan is spread out over 233 square kilometres and there are many outlying areas that are not hooked up to the municipality’s water systems and must depend on wells for their water.
“In these areas, fire departments rely on shuttling water to drop tanks, which are like swimming pools that are quickly set up, to deal with fires,” he said.
“According to the Firefighters Underwriting Survey, this is adequate fire protection for these areas.”
As for widening Khenipsen Road, Conway said the issue was discussed by the municipality’s public works committee in June.
He said it was determined that major road work there would change the character of the area, and would come at great cost.
“The committee recommended no changes,” Conway said.
“If people choose to live outside of the urban containment boundary, then that’s their choice.”