Parksville residents could face watering ban

City sees spike in usage after voluntary Stage 3 restrictions implemented

Parksville and Nanoose Bay Peninsula Water Service Area residents may be facing a complete outdoor water ban if voluntary efforts at conservation do not improve, the city and the Regional District of Nanaimo announced Tuesday, July 11.

On July 1, the two water service areas served by the Englishman River moved to stage 3 watering restrictions in an effort to curb increasing water demand. Stage 3 restrictions maintain the same even- and odd-day watering framework as stage 2 and also encourage residents to further reduce consumption voluntarily in order to defer a comprehensive watering ban.

During the first week of stage 3 restrictions, however, water demand increased with much higher than normal summer consumption, said Deb Tardiff, Parksville manager of communications, in a news release. Outdoor water use reductions have not been realized and the City wishes to reiterate how important it is for residents to be efficient with their water use.

Parksville officials will continue to monitor this trend and if they see no improvement, the city “will have no choice” but to impose stage 4, a complete outdoor watering ban, according to the release. This will be necessary to ensure that water supply for essential household use, community use and fire protection can be maintained.

Stage 3 restrictions are required due to infrastructure complications with the current water intake on the Englishman River not operating at full capacity, while the new intake and filtration plant are under construction. The project is not expected to be completed an on-line until 2019.

Stage 3 offers flexibility for residents to decide where and how they cut back on water use; however, it is critical that reductions are implemented. The City of Parksville offers some tips on how to cut back on water use:

· Reduce the lawn irrigation on your property by decreasing run times, cutting back on the number of watering days and refraining from sprinkling certain lawn areas; lawns naturally go dormant in the summer months and return with fall rains.

· 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.

· Retrofit old, inefficient irrigation systems.

· Add mulch/topsoil to aid in landscape water retention.

The Regional District of Nanaimo now offers a new WaterSmart garden rebate program for conducting landscape efficiency upgrades including irrigation system improvements and soil and mulch amendment. This is a pilot program and funds are limited. www.rdnrebates.ca

We appreciate the efforts of residents to conserve water this summer. Information about the City’s water restrictions may be found at parksville.ca [Quicklinks/Water Restrictions]. The City is a partner in the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Team WaterSmart programs. For helpful tips on saving water and for a map with information on local watering restriction stages, visit www.teamwatersmart.ca.

— NEWS Staff and City of Parksville news release