The commercial sale of bulk groundwater extracted from agricultural lands should not be permitted according to Gabriola’s Agricultural Advisory Commission (AAC).
At a June 19 meeting at the WI Hall, Commissioner Jenny MacLeod said the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) – the body that adminsters the Agricultural Land Reserve – will soon review a decision to allow bulk groundwater sales from Gabriola Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) land. She said the AAC should ask the Local Trust Committee (LTC) to advocate against the sale.
As previously reported, in the fall of 2011 water purveyor Brian Strachan and farmer Tim Brown were both given permission to extract bulk groundwater for two years from the same aquifer, and are only required to log how much they pump.
AAC commissioners also recommended that the LTC add a prohibition against the sale of water from farms to the Official Community Plan, and advise the land commission of the AAC’s recommendation.
In further discussion about water and agriculture, the AAC also noted that the Regional District of Nanaimo is doing a water survey on Gabriola in preparation for establishing a water budget – or a conceptual model of the way the water cycle works on the island. MacLeod said it was important to know how much water was needed for farming on Gabriola. Commissioner Sal Dominelli said there are formulae that outline how much water different crops require per week.
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