By Tim Kalinowski
The Parramatta Estates subdivison has now been without locally pumped potable water since the beginning of October. Located right beside the South Saskatchewan River at the bottom of a steep hill on Range Road 70 the dozen households of the subdivision belong to the Parramatta Valley Water Co-op, which had provided treated water at its own treatment plant for over 40 years. Earlier this year the co-op decided to shut down the treatment plant because it was growing harder and harder to meet government health and safety regulations. Residents began building reservoirs and having potable water trucked in while still hoping for an eventual pipeline tie-in to either Redcliff’s water supply or the Cypress County pipeline running to Seven Persons. The Courier first reported on the story in early September. Recently we decided to check in with Ron Holmes, Parramatta Valley Water Co-op member and Parramatta Estates resident, to see how things have progressed over the last few months since the treatment plant shutdown.
“The majority of the people here have installed outdoor storage tanks buried in the ground,” says Holmes. “The rest of them have some sort of combinations in their home where they also have storage tanks. So everyone is hauling water now. Some are doing it themselves but the majority of them are hiring commercial water haulers.”
Holmes is one of the few who has opted to haul his own water using his own vehicle. He is currently into town two or three times a week to fill up to meet his household needs. Those using the commercial water haulers usually have water brought in about once a month.
Holmes says you never know how much we in Canada taking having ready access to clean drinking water for granted until you have to suddenly begin worrying about running out.
“You are sensitive to your water usage much more than ever before,” confirms Holmes. “It was stressful during the changeover of course. Right now (hauling in water) is sort of a novel thing and we are finding ways to get it done. I would say residents have settled in to their new normal. We are not resigned. And we are not content. So somewhere in between hope and despair. We are hopeful there is another solution out there other than what we have.”