Zero rain in July for Parksville Qualicum Beach

Local Streamkeepers group urge water conservation and say fish are in danger; the only other year July was rain-free was 1958

The unusually hot and dry weather throughout the month of July has the Streamkeepers “anxious” and they are calling on Parksville Qualicum Beach residents to up their conservation efforts.

“Our stream flows are becoming perilously low, leaving the coho fry and cutthroat trout that live there at risk of predation in shallow pools or disease from high water temperatures,” Streamkeepers’ Faye Smith wrote in an e-mail to The NEWS. “Over a month without rain and no rain in sight . . . Streamkeepers are starting to get anxious.”

Environment Canada statistics gathered at the Qualicum Beach airport show zero precipitation from July 1-28 inclusive. The average temperature over that time was 24.6 C. The hottest day in the month was July 1 (29.7 C) and the lowest daily maximum temperature was 20.5 C on July 11.

July is, on average, the area’s driest month (23.1 mm of rain on average). The wettest month is December (165.8 mm on average).

The Environment Canada forecast is calling for 25 C and sunny through Thursday, with a 30 per cent chance of the region’s first rain for more than a month on Friday.

David Jones of Environment Canada said the only other time July went by with zero precipitation was in 1958.

Meanwhile, Smith said her group does its best to help the fish by trying to cool their habitat.

“We do what we can to provide refuge for them by anchoring in Large Woody Debris and planting trees and shrubs for shade and cover,” she she wrote, “but there comes a point when even those measures are not enough.”

Smith also had a plea for residents.

“Now we call on all residents, whether on city or community water systems, wells or stream water, to please conserve,” she wrote. “Groundwater and surface water are connected. We share the water with the fish and the ecosystem.”