Coquitlam Watershed Tour

Today’s blog is centered around WATER — the tasteless, odorless substance that is essential to all known forms of life. About 72% of the human body is water and need about 2-3 litres of water (including food sources) to avoid dehydration.

Currently about 1 billion people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water. In terms of available drinking water per capita, Canada would be the No 1 country. With an every increasing global population and shrinking water supply, I won’t be surprised that water could one day be tomorrow’s oil.


The Greater Vancouver Regional District manages three forested watershed to provide Lower Mainland with clear and pure drinking water. The watersheds are closed to the public to safeguard the water supply. However, every summer, the GVRD organizes free bus and walking tours to the scenic watershed. We registered for one such tour this summer to the Coquitlam Watershed. This is a 3.5 hr bus tour.

We board the bus from the Town Centre Stadium Parking Lot. The tours were always full and one has to register weeks in advance.


It took 25 minutes to get from the Coquitlam City to the Coquitlam Lake. It is located in a remote area out of bounds to visitors. The Coquitlam Lake is huge — 0.5km width and stretches for a full 12km. That is equivalent to about 50 Stanley Parks.

The Coquitlam Watershed is part of the network of three watersheds in the Lower Mainland. All were located north of the city. The other two watershed are Capilano and Seymour.


The water quality in the three watershed are high. One of the measurement used to determine water quality is NTU which is basically the measurement of turbidity (cloudiness or haziness of water). The recommended minimum NTUs in GVRD is 5 or lower but the turbidity here is less than 1 NTU. Despite that the water in lower mainland is treated with ozone and chlorine as additional safeguard.

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