2015 marked the Centennial Anniversary of Sooke Lake Reservoir, the source of Victoria’s drinking water supply and the origins of the Regional Water Supply System, which continues to provide a reliable supply of clean and safe drinking water to the residents of our region.

It as at this time that Sooke Lake Reservoir was commissioned as the new source of Victoria’s water supply. In the early 1900’s Elk Lake was the water supply for Victoria and it was determined near the turn of the century that it could no longer meet Victoria's water needs. A consulting engineer from San Francisco was brought in to recommend solutions and Sooke Lake was presented as a possible source. The question of using this water source went to the ratepayers in a referendum and was supported by a two-thirds majority of those voting.

The reservoir has undergone various upgrades over the years to meet the drinking water and fire protection demand of the growing area. The original dam was 3.7 m high in 1915 and in 1967, flashboards were added to the spillway and the water level was increased 1.2 m. Again in 1971 the reservoir level was increased by 5.4 m by building a larger dam behind the first, and again by 6 m in 2003 by doubling the size of the 1970 dam and bringing the water storage volume to 160.3 million cubic metres total storage. 1

From the approximate 35,000 residents in 1915 to the approximately 370,000 people in Greater Victoria today, the Sooke Lake Reservoir continues to supply almost 100 percent of the water used by area residents. Currently across the region, the CRD treats and delivers an average of 132 million litres of water every day. There are 20,500 ha of protected water supply area including 11 dams and 6 reservoirs.

[1] Tolman, C.(2015) Bringing Water to Victoria. Victoria, BC: Sooke Regional Museum

Construction of the Water Supply System, 1912 - 1915