A North Langley resident shares water concerns with another recent letter writer. (Black Press Media files)

A North Langley resident shares water concerns with another recent letter writer. (Black Press Media files)

LETTER: Langley man shares water worries with previous letter writer

Natural areas that used to trap and filter water have been overdeveloped

Dear Editor,

[RE: Worry for Water, Feb. 4, Langley Advance Times]

The water reservoir that Kathy Miller suggests should be built already exists. The problem is that much of the water that in the past percolated down into the water table is no longer able to. Before, some of it ran off as surface water into streams and rivers largely unpolluted, and the rest, depending on the underlying materials, such as ancient glacial gravel deposits, helped replenish any ground water.

Due to the developments over increasing areas of the Lower Mainland, much of this water in the form of rainfall, is first polluted by road runoff, then directed into the storm water system and finally discharged into the river system.

Surface water is also polluted by runoff from the spreading of liquid manures, where in the past piled solid waste had at least a chance to partially decompose. When spread, it tended to be incorporated in the soil more completely, with virtually no pollution of ditch water or leaching downward into the ground water.

The use of wood waste in the construction of dikes surrounding cranberry fields has polluted adjacent ditches through the leaching of the material when the fields are flooded. This is to overlook the manner with which the previous natural roll of the land, which led to the accumulation of water in lower areas, attracting all sorts of water fowl, is first erased.

Take a drive to Pitt Meadows. As immigrant dairy farmers in that community, we hayed a fair bit of the airport land along Baynes and Ford Roads. Now much of it is a complex of aviation-related businesses, and growing in size. What was in use as agricultural land west of the Katzie First Nation land and east of Harris Road, south of Airport Way is developed as residential or industrial property. I recently noticed the preloads are going directly over the topsoil. It probably wasn’t worth removing.

I can understand why a member of a First Nation would naturally be concerned about water. It’s so central to the way they interact with and view the natural world.

Wetlands are being strangled and paved over anyway, so it’s much easier to speak the language of sustainability, save something that can’t be developed, and call it a greenway. The topsoil is buried far below, so that something could be built above the flood-plane to generate tax revenue, is long forgotten. It’s just dirt anyway and the reservoirs on the North Shore will keep us in water, for now.

Neal De Geus, Walnut Grove

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