The City of Parksville will move to stage 3 watering restrictions effective July 1, 2017. It is asking all residents to voluntarily restrict water use to help avoid mandated stage 4 restriction.

UPDATE: Nanoose Bay joins Parksville in Stage 3 watering restrictions

Residents asked to voluntarily conserve water effective July 1

The Regional District of Nanaimo announced Thursday morning, June 29, that it is moving to stage 3 watering restrictions for customers in the Nanoose Bay Peninsula Water Service Area, effective July 1.

Nanoose Bay joins the City of Parksville, which made its announcement on Tuesday, in the move to stage 3. To date, they are the only municipalities or areas within the Regional District of Nanaimo currently moving to stage 3 watering restriction.

Both the City of Parksville and the RDN are asking customers within these service areas to voluntarily reduce water consumption as watering restriction stage 3 becomes effective on July 1.

Stage 3 restrictions, just as with stage 2, enable residents to choose where they wish to cut back.

Effective conservation will help to defer stage 4 restrictions or a comprehensive watering ban, the city stated in a news release issued Tuesday.

The water supply for both Parksville and the Nanoose Bay peninsula comes from the Englishman River, and available capacity has been reduced in recent years by aging infrastructure and material plugging the infiltration gallery at the Englishman River pump station, said the release.

A new water intake and treament plant was approved and ground broken on construction earlier this year.

The new facility is expected to be completed in July 2019, and “will be able to supply increased water demands into the future,” said the release.

Despite the wet and cool spring, the city was moved to take this step by the arrival of drier weather, combined with a forcast by Environment Canada for a drier than normal summer. Residents are asked to voluntarily conserve water, particularly discretionary outdoor water use such as the watering of lawns.

“Pro-active water conservation is critical for protecting stream flows for aquatic habitat and is essential for avoiding or deferring stricter watering restrictions as the summer progresses,” the city’s release stated. “Should we not see reductions in water consumption, it will be necessary to implement stage 4 watering restrictions, a comprehensive watering ban which prohibits all outdoor watering, filling of pools, washing of vehicles, etc.”

As a reminder to residents, stage 3 watering restrictions are as follows:

· Residents are encouraged to voluntarily reduce watering of lawns to a minimum in an effort to avoid potential future watering ban if City water demands cannot be managed.

· Vegetable gardens and fruit trees are exempt from all watering restrictions.

· Watering of ornamental shrubs, flowers and trees is restricted to a hand-held container or a hose equipped with a shutoff nozzle if watered outside of the times permitted.

· Washing of vehicles, boats and exterior building surfaces may be washed using City supplied potable water using a hand-held container or hose equipped with a shutoff nozzle.

· Washing of sidewalks, driveways or parking lots may be washed using City supplied potable water using a hand-held container or hose equipped with a shutoff nozzle.

· Swimming pools, wading pools, hot tubs and water features may be filled.

· Odd numbered civic addresses may water on odd numbered days and even numbered civic addresses may water on even numbered days. Watering times are 7 am to 10 am OR 7 pm to 10 pm for a maximum of two hours of total allocated watering per day.

What can residents do to make every drop count?

· Lawns naturally go dormant in the summer months and return with fall rains. Lawns only need one inch of water each week including rainfall during the hottest, driest weeks of the year.

· Understand you’re the watering needs of your plants – limit watering of trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetable gardens and use mulch, such as leaves and compost around trees and shrubs to hold in moisture. Water with a container or hose with a shutoff nozzle.

· Avoid washing vehicles or boats unnecessarily, unless for safety reasons (windows and headlights).

· Sweep outdoor surfaces such as driveways or decks with a broom rather than using a hose or power washing.

· Continue to reduce indoor use by turning off the tap when brushing your teeth or washing dishes, take shorter showers and run full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher.

What is the City of Parksville doing to conserve?

With the major drought in 2015 experienced throughout the province, the City made significant changes to parks operations to reduce water required for irrigation while balancing the needs for recreational users, tourism and to maintain public safety. This year, the City will perform an assessment of irrigated areas to determine if further reductions are possible. As well, at a cost of $8,000, the City will apply a surfactant to our largest turf areas (sports fields in the Community Park and Springwood Park) and for the first time, to the kite field in the Community Park. This surfactant increases the uniformity of the water in the soil to improve the amount of available water. Stress tolerance is also improved increasing the turf/grass ability to recover from drought. Previous applications have indicated a savings close to 20% of water used on the fields.

Detailed information about the city’s water restrictions may be found on the City of Parksville website at parksville.ca.

— Submitted by the City of Parksville