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The Hyde Creek Watershed Society is looking into tapping into the city’s water supply on an emergency basis when stream flows are low in the warmer months.
The initiative would require significant alterations to the society’s Coast Meridian Road operation and would cost more than $37,000.
“It is something we are considering,” said Ted Wingrove, the president of the Hyde Creek Watershed Society. “Our well is in a bit of a depletion mode. This would be used in case it shuts down.”
If the project goes ahead, water would be piped in from the city’s sewer system, de-chlorinated, then pumped into the stream. The operation would work on a metered basis and the city would then be paid for how much water was used.
Wingrove said the project would allow the hatchery to regulate water flows, particularly in the warm months when the creek dries up.
There are many theories as to why the creek’s flows have suffered in recent years. Some society members have said development on Burke Mountain in Coquitlam has disrupted the regular rain runoff from slowly seeping into the creek. Instead of water soaking into the ground and moving into the creek over time, it tends to be carried quickly through concrete storm drains. Climate change, Wingrove said, can also be attributed to some of the water flow problems of the last few years.
Igor Zahynacz, Port Coquitlam’s director of engineering, said the city has not been approached about the proposal being considered by society members but he said the city has a strong relationship with the hatchery and its volunteers and has worked with them on projects in the past.
He acknowledged that low flows have been a problem at the creek for several years and the city and society members have been concerned.
“The well isn’t providing the necessary flows at certain times,” he said. “There has been problems with the water supply.”
But while the society struggles to find a solution to its water problems, the hatchery has been busy. Last fall, Hyde Creek saw the largest Coho run in its history and Wingrove said he expects good numbers to repeat this year.
“Normally, what would be in the hundreds was in the thousands this year,” he said. “Its the largest run of coho we have ever had.”