Chapman Lake Revisited
Lately there’s been a letter writing campaign by people who want the province to reverse its decision and remove Chapman Lake from Tetrahedron Provincial Park. I don’t favour reviving a rancorous public debate that dragged on for years, soaking up time and energy on the part of the public, elected officials and staff.
The siphon that we’re already using at Stage 4 does allow us to draw the lake down without digging the trench. The drawdown project would make it easier to drain the lake on an ongoing basis, but there still is nowhere near enough water in that lake to meet the community’s water demands. We need more water storage and we also need to diversify our sources so we are not so dependent on the Chapman system.
If the lake was taken out of the park we would have more flexibility for working on the dam, but you have to remember that it’s still a fly-in location, so any work up there is challenging and very expensive. That’s one of the reasons that raising the dam higher was rejected as an option back in 2007.
Climate change is hitting us much faster and more severely than anyone expected, especially lengthening summer droughts. And we don’t know how it will affect the recharge capacity of Chapman Lake. Many of our assumptions about water capacity may be wrong. So we need to focus our energy on developing new sources and new storage as quickly as possible, rather than flogging the dead horse of a park boundary adjustment.