Starting this week, walkers and bikers on the rail trail just south of the Mountain Station parking lot will find a detour in the section between the top of Stanley Street and Mountain Station.
The City of Nelson is installing a water line along the trail right-of-way as part of its multi-year plan to upgrade Nelson’s water supply and has built the detour to temporarily divert traffic.
The pipes will transport water from an intake at Selous Creek, a short distance south of town near Highway 6. Water from this intake is currently used only in the event of summer drought.
The new infrastructure will transport Selous water by gravity feed along the rail trail, then veer off across Crown land to the city’s main reservoir at Mountain Station.
At the reservoir, the water will merge with the main supply from Five Mile Creek and receive the same ultraviolet water treatment. The project is expected to be finished by the end of the year.
That is stage one of a three-part water plan.
Next year’s work will merge water from Anderson Creek in Fairview, also used now only in dry spells, into central storage and treatment at Mountain Station. Engineering work and pipe-laying for that stage will take two years, according to the city’s public works director Colin Innes.
Stage three will involve the construction of new water supply for Nelson piped from Clearwater Creek, which enters the Salmo River near the Apex ski area. The water from Clearwater Creek will join the Selous Creek line to be transported to Mountain Station.
Innes expects water to be flowing from Clearwater Creek into the Mountain Station reservoir about five years from now, “if all the stars align.”
This work is possible because of a $6 million grant the city received last year from the federal government’s gas tax fund.
Consolidating the Selous and Anderson flows and adding Clearwater Creek will fulfill the main objectives of Nelson’s water plan, which was created to compensate for water shortages as the summers get warmer.