The province has raised the drought level on Vancouver Island to Level 5, the highest level possible, due to the ongoing dry conditions.
In response, some water systems operators have collaborated to develop new emergency Stage 4 water restrictions.
“This is a drought situation that we’ve come close to in the past, but never experienced until now,” said Aaron Stone, chairman of the Cowichan Valley Regional District.
“It’s been months since we have had significant rainfall in the region, and for many of our watersheds, the circumstances are dire. Please be conscious of water use. Look at and embrace the restrictions we’re asking everyone to adhere to until the rains return. Water is our most precious and critical resource. We’re all in this together when facing such an extreme drought.”
The Stage 4 restrictions were also developed in partnership with experts from all water purveyors in the region, including municipalities, First Nations and improvement districts, based on staff expertise and risk-based assessments.
The new restrictions are only being implemented in two water systems in the CVRD at this time. The affected areas are in the North Oyster/Diamond electoral district north of Ladysmith and in the Shawnigan Lake electoral district.
Under Stage 4 water restrictions, all use of water for any purpose other than drinking, food preparation and personal hygiene is affected.
The watering of public and school district sports fields and community parks will be eliminated where possible and reduced on sand-based fields, and local government outdoor water parks and pools will be closed or operate with reduced hours.
“While compliance with these regulations is voluntary for private well owners, we encourage everyone to do their part to limit water use to these essential purposes only,” a press release from the CVRD said.
Residents in all other areas across the Cowichan region are asked to consider abiding by these restrictions as well and to take any further conservation measures possible.
Last week the province brought in restrictions on water use for some users in the Koksilah River watershed, turning off the taps for industrial use and some agricultural uses, due to severe low flows.
For more information about drought conditions, visit the New Normal Cowichan website.
Despite cooler and cloudier conditions in the forecast, and some rain Thursday, Environment Canada is not expecting any significant rainfall in the coming week for Island’s main population corridor.
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