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LETTER: More needs to be done to safeguard source of West Shore’s drinking water

Thank you for your front-page story, Residents want more done to protect aquifer, in the Oct. 20. Groundwater is a critically important issue on southern Vancouver Island but remains almost invisible to most residents (out of sight, out of mind).

Many residents of Sooke, Metchosin, and south Langford rely on this aquifer (#606) for their domestic water supply, and as Lynn and Chris Moss of the Otter Point 606 Water Group highlighted in the article, this aquifer is not a high producing source of water and it is also vulnerable to contamination from surface activity.

In the Sooke area, higher density residential development is the greatest potential threat to the safety of domestic water wells. At the other end of the aquifer, industrial development along the Metchosin-Langford border is being allowed to use wells and septic systems that risk the health of not only the aquifer, but the very ecological networks that maintain surface drainage systems throughout the area.

Most concerning is the lack of any test wells or observation wells on the aquifer as was pointed out by Juan de Fuca director Mike Hicks. The need for such wells to establish baseline data and monitor the effects of development was recognized as far back as 2004, and the Ministry of the Environment recommended such a system in 2009. To date, nothing has been done to facilitate such a valuable planning tool and safeguard for our drinking water source.

Selby Saluke