The construction of the Sooke Flowline

The construction of the Sooke Flowline

Event celebrates history of Greater Victoria’s ‘liquid gold’

Rare tours of Greater Victoria water supply area being offered

This weekend the public is invited to help celebrate history, engineering, regional pride – and water.

“Without a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply, the Victoria area would not have been able to grow from the 35,000 residents of 1915 to the 350,000 residents of today,” says Capital Regional District senior manager of watershed protection, Annette Constabel. “This is an opportunity for residents of the region to look back to 1915 and the origins of our current water supply system and celebrate 100 years of safe reliable drinking water.”

The event is being dubbed H2Open House and is being held tomorrow (June 20) at the CRD Watershed Field Operations Centre, near the Goldstream Park campground.

The free, all-ages, family-friendly event marks the completion of construction on the Sooke flowline and Sooke Lake Reservoir, which still serves as the source of the region’s water supply.

“The development of the water supply system for Greater Victoria had its share of controversies and unique stories,” Constabel says, “and the marking of 100 years is a chance to remember that history.”

Besides learning about the development of the flow line and reservoir, visitors will be treated to guided tours of the water supply area that are otherwise closed to the public, including walking across the original 1915 Humpback Dam, touring the Japan Gulch water disinfection facility and the Howard English Fish Hatchery, as well as viewing the Japan Gulch reservoir and dam.

There will also be a “Kids Zone,” where children can participate in a firefighting challenge and see different types of firefighting equipment, learn about the watershed from CRD naturalists, have their faces painted and do crafts.

Food vendors will also be on site, as will displays from the Sooke Region Museum, Town of View Royal Archives, B.C. Hydro’s Power Pioneers and the Pacific Forestry Centre.

Those who register in advance will receive a free kid’s T-shirt while quantities last, but the event is open to the public to simply show up, as well.

The operations centre is at 2995 Sooke Lake Rd.

For more information, or to register, head over to crd.bc.ca/openhouse.

mdavies@goldstreamgazette.com