Everywhere else I’ve ever lived has considered storage of raw water to be their best asset in terms of water security. Here in the Kootenays however, we are blessed with a seeming abundance of clean water from mountain streams, and the need for storage has been minimal in many communities. There has been more concern about what water can be drawn from the streams in summer, than whether that water will be there in a drought year, or whether there should eb a self-imposed limit on how much is taken from the environment.

This year I have started graphing the levels in Rossland’s Star Gulch Raw Water Reservoir on a semi-regular basis. Taking the field measurement data and using Google Documents spreadsheet, it is possible to get a graph that automatically outputs as a webpage, the information input into the spreadsheet. At the moment we are tracking just the Star Gulch Reservoir, but as we fill the Ophir Reservoir and start using it, we will be measuring the water level and graphing it as well, estimates for the level of Ophir have been entered as of writing this post, but all data will be current as information is recorded.

This information is important to track against the flows from the creeks and consumption in the City, as we are attempting to reduce our reliance on the summer flows in the streams and instead use the storage. You can’t be criticized for collecting too much data – just too little.

As a side note, the flows in the three creeks that Rossland uses we measured during the summer at about 30 litres per second total:

  • Topping Creek 5 l/sec
  • Hanna Creek 12-15 l/sec
  • Murrphy Creek 10 l/sec

Note that Topping Creek was the lowest, contibuting 17% of the total flows.

Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.