Abbotsford & Mission ditch $85 million collector well plan after grant denied

Cities will instead look to boost water system by spending $77 million on eight different traditional wells, if federal money comes through

By Tyler Olsen | March 2, 2022 |5:00 am

Abbotsford and Mission are ditching plans for a $85 million collector well that could increase the cities’ water supply over the coming decades after the federal government rejected its request for funding. Instead, the two communities, which operate on the same water system, now plan to tap the aquifer beneath Abbotsford with up to 8 new “vertical wells.”

A collector well is a large well placed next to a water source—in this case the Fraser River—that draws drinking water from the elevated ground. The well was previously deemed the best and most cost-efficient way to expand the city’s water supply over the coming years. But the cities were unable to get funding for the project from the federal and provincial governments.

Now, after receiving feedback from the province, doing more testing, and receiving new quotes on the price of materials, the city has changed course. It’s now looking to create 8 new wells along with 4.2 kilometres of water mains and a pump station. The city expects the project to cost around $77 million, with the province and feds potentially paying for $56 million of that. Abbotsford and Mission would pay the remaining $21 million (and potentially any cost over-runs.)

The eight new wells could provide about 25 more megalitres of water—the same amount the two cities expect to need by 2041. Staff say the eight wells will be more cost-effective than a collector well, can be phased in over time, and may be less susceptible to earthquakes. The water quality may also be better, staff say.

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Tyler Olsen

Managing Editor at Fraser Valley Current

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