VANCOUVER -- The Capital Regional District has acquired nearly 60 hectares of land outside of its borders that it says will be key to meeting the region's water supply needs in the future.

The CRD announced the acquisition of the 58.7-hectare parcel adjacent to its existing Greater Victoria Water Supply Area on Friday.

The land falls within the Cowichan Valley Regional District, but it was "a high priority for acquisition" because it includes watershed catchment lands that feed the Sooke Lake Reservoir, the CRD said in a news release.

The CRD has purchased the property from its former owner Margaret Forestry Ltd. for $652,729, which will be funded by the Regional Water Supply Service, the district said, noting that the cost works out to about $4,500 per acre.

“The CRD recognizes our responsibility to plan and prepare for future water supply needs and for the continued stewardship of the Greater Victoria Water Supply Area,“ said Lillian Szpak, chair of the Regional Water Supply Commission, in the release.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to secure ownership of this portion of catchment land so that it can be protected in perpetuity and we can continue to uphold the best water quality and the safest and most reliable drinking water resource for Greater Victoria.”

The Greater Victoria Water Supply Area includes 20,550 hectares of CRD-owned, forested land in the Sooke, Goldstream and Leech watersheds. The area includes 11 dams and six reservoirs and provides drinking water for more than 380,000 people.