Water quality and quantity are impacted by the land use.
Consequently, effective management of the land base in the watershed is crucial for ensuring the drinking water supply.
The China Creek Drinking Watershed presently provides the primary source of water for residents of the City of Port Alberni as well as Beaver Creek, Hupacasath, and Tseshaht through contracts with the City to provide drinking water. Significant harvesting activity presently going on near the creek increases the risk of a landslide and otherwise decreases the health of the ecosystem potentially affecting the ability of the City to provide this water.
At this point in time there is a disconnect between the people who manage the land base and the people who benefit from the health of the ecosystem. The private timber lands, regulated through the province and controlled by the Managed Forest Council, have been significantly deregulated over the past number of years. The City of Port Alberni is left to pay the cost of any impacts given that they are mandated through the province to provide high quality drinking water.
Concerted effort is required to fix this problem and ensure long-term watershed protection for the China Creek Drinking Watershed.
Our Watershed: A Community in Action outlines the immediate steps we propose to help move us in this direction.
Here is a schematic of the water infrastructure for the City:
A comprehensive watershed report looking at the China Creek Drinking watershed evaluates the effect of forest harvesting on water quality. The report out of the University of British Columbia was released June 2016. The report is available here.
The presentation is available here.