By Christina Toth, Abbotsford Times November 18, 2011
Abbotsford won’t be selling water to the United States anytime soon. If it tried, it would be in hot water with provincial authorities.
The question of the sale of water is one that keeps floating up in discussions about the proposed Stave Lake water project, said Tracy Kyle, the City of Abbotsford director for the project. She asked for clarification from Pieter Bekker, the deputy comptroller of water rights, which oversees the public management of water in B.C. In his response, Bekker writes: “The Water Protection Act prohibits the removal of water in bulk from British Columbia. Under the provisions of the WPA, water may not cross the B.C. border in containers larger than 20 litres.
“The City of Abbotsford would not be permitted to remove bulk water from B.C. as it would be a violation of the Water Protection Act.”
Another misconception is that there are huge reserves of water in the Abbotsford-Sumas aquifer, which sits under the municipality and stretches to Bellingham, said Kyle.
An environmental assessment over the past three years on aquifer capacity by provincial and federal hydrogeologists came to the conclusion that long term extraction from the aquifer is not possible.
However, Abbotsford has not excluded the possibility of providing water to surrounding communities including Mission or Langley.