Anyone in the Garibaldi Highlands area that looked closely at the water coming from household taps in the last week is hoping the brown-tinged unappealing liquid is replaced soon by the light blue tinted, crystal-clear water that normally flows.
The turbid water pouring from taps had a distinct cloudy brown look to it this week and much of last week.
There is no indication of when the water quality will improve and Mother Nature will play some role in making the change.
The high silt load in the drinking water was a result of the heavy rains last week. The rainfall and thick layer of frost from a cold snap Jan. 15 and 16 led to some minor flooding and water concerns between Jan. 17 and 20. Heading into last weekend (Jan. 22 and 23) a heavy rainfall warning was in place and Squamish's new emergency operations centre was put to use for the first time. Expected heavy rains predicted to start last Friday and last through to Sunday didn't materialize. The emergency operations centre operated for only part of the weekend. There wasn't enough rain to justify having emergency personnel on stand-by but there was enough rain to keep turbidity levels in Mashiter Creek high.
Mayor Ian Sutherland said Garibaldi Highlands residents were advised to boil their water as of Jan. 19 out of an abundance of caution when water testing indicated complete disinfection of the water was not assured.
Sutherland said the precautionary advisory was issued after heavy rains brought the turbidity levels up in Mashiter Creek. Mashiter is one of three water sources for Squamish. Surface water can also be taken out of Stawamus River and the community's main water source is located near the Mamquam River. A series of wells draw water up from deep under the ground near the lower Mamquam hydroelectric project.
According to Sutherland, the community's water needs are met most of the time by the supply from the Mamquam wells.
He said water had to be drawn from Mashiter because one of the Mamquam wells was undergoing maintenance work.
"There was an issue with the operation of one of the wells and repairs had to be made," said Sutherland. "We had to top up the well water supply with water from the Mashiter."
The Mashiter water intake is located near Alice Lake Provincial Park and water from the intake comes into the local water system through a pipe extending from the intake to the upper reaches of the Garibaldi Highlands.
The water goes into the local grid and for the most part, homes in the Garibaldi Highlands are getting Mashiter water.
As of The Chief's press deadline, the DOS was still indicating the boil water advisory was in effect.The status of the boil water advisory can be checked by visiting the DOS website at www.squamish.ca.