Sandpiper Bulk Water Supply

Sandpiper Bulk Water Supply

Cooperation between the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) and the Town of Qualicum Beach (the Town) has led to an agreement that will bring a new supply of water to the 242 households in the Sandpiper subdivision.

The bulk water supply will be provided by the Town to the Sandpiper reservoir. The RDN has allocated $970,000 from the Electoral Area G Community Works Funds towards this project. The funds will cover the capital costs to bring water to the reservoir, as well as infrastructure improvements to the Town’s system and reinforcing the emergency water supply for the Chartwell and Eaglecrest communities.

Click here to read the joint News Release between the Regional District of Nanaimo and the Town of Qualicum Beach.

Sandpiper Neighbourhood Map

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the issue with Sandpiper’s water supply?

The Sandpiper water system was established in 1980 and originally comprised the neighbourhoods of Eaglecrest, Chartwell and Sandpiper. The water source for Sandpiper comes from a series of groundwater wells located nearby. The water, while sufficient in quantity, produces water that, at times, exceeds the maximum allowable concentration of manganese under the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, which were updated in 2019.


Although the water is considered potable by Island Health, the manganese and iron in the water can cause turbidity that can leave it looking and smelling aesthetically unpleasing. At their own cost, residents of Sandpiper have had to invest in water filtration systems for their households to try and improve the quality of the water. This investment can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the type of filtration system.

Will providing water to Sandpiper impact the water supply for Town residents?

The Town’s water system is easily capable of supplying the Town’s Official Community Plan estimated population growth, and the Sandpiper subdivision demands. Data shows that per capita demand continues to decrease, likely a combination of increased appliance efficiency, water conservation measures and efficient irrigation/landscape practices. The total annual water production volumes continue to drop even with the increasing population. The Town also has two wells yet to be commissioned that will provide additional contingency.

How is this project being funded?

The $970,000 being provided by the RDN will come from a Electoral Area G Community Works Funds grant.

Will there be an increased cost to Sandpiper residents?

Sandpiper residents will pay an additional $2.40 per cubic metre of water once the water starts flowing. This will amount to approximately $450 per year per household in additional costs to the average water user in Sandpiper.

Will there be a cost to the residents of the Town of Qualicum Beach?

No. In fact, there are considerable investments planned for Town infrastructure with the RDN Community Works Funds, specifically at the Hemsworth Road Booster Pump Station and to water main looping along Rupert Road.

Were Sandpiper residents consulted?

The RDN surveyed Sandpiper residents in 2012 to gauge their interest in paying increased rates for water in order to improve the quality of their water. The survey results did not indicate support for an expenditure to improve water quality, however, the RDN continued to pursue solutions to this issue.

Does the Town already provide water to the RDN?

The Town sells water to the RDN, on rare occasions, through a metered interconnection to the Sandpiper water system for emergency purposes. This provision was part of the agreement established in 2004 with the Chartwell incorporation. While the Town’s system is capable of supplying total instantaneous demand to the Sandpiper subdivision, upgrading the Hemsworth Road Booster Pump Station and looping of the distribution system along Rupert Road will be beneficial to the three large demand areas at the eastern extremity of town; Eaglecrest, Chartwell and Qualicum Woods.

Why doesn’t Sandpiper receive water from the same source as the French Creek area?

All of French Creek between the Town and Parksville, except for Sandpiper, is supplied by EPCOR Water (West) Inc. This agreement between the RDN and the Town provides a solution that meets the needs of Sandpiper residents and provides considerable benefit to the Town.

If the infrastructure is already in place, why hasn’t the Town provided water before now?

The RDN has approached the Town twice before in previous years in an attempt to purchase water supply from the Town. Council at those times declined their request as it was perceived that there was little or no benefit to the Town and the RDN potentially had other solutions.

Why didn’t the RDN construct a water treatment plant to improve the quality of water in Sandpiper?

Constructing a water treatment plant that only serves 240 homes is not cost-effective.

What happens if the Town decides not to supply water to Sandpiper in the future?

Should a future Council find that this Agreement does not meet the needs of the Town, it can be terminated with a 3-year notice, which is intended to provide sufficient time for the RDN to obtain an alternate supply or to put in place a treatment facility.
If you have a question about the Sandpiper Bulk Water Supply that is not answered in this Frequently Asked Questions document, please email qbtown@qualicumbeach.com.
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