EDITORIAL: Where’s the rain when we need it?

As the rain poured down in torrents over the past couple of days, turning the highways into swimming lanes and lawns into shallow lakes, some of us could probably have been forgiven for longing for the lazy, hazy breezes of July and August.

And their regional watering restrictions.

OK, so perhaps we weren’t missing the seemingly perpetual drought threat that has hung over our warmest months in the last 10 years or so, which seems to be worsening as time marches on and climate change becomes more and more apparent, even in our relatively lucky corner of the world.

Why, one might wonder, can’t we shift some of that rainfall to our drought times?

Certainly, a number of area water storage proponents have shared their desire — through letters to the editor and in meetings with Regional District of Nanaimo and municipal government representatives — to create an upland reservoir system for winter water storage in the Mount Arrowsmith Watershed.

This might have the benefit of mitigating the annual shortfall of rainfall in the Parksville region each summer, though it would have done little to slow the high flows that caused the flooding that washed out or over roads throughout the region Sunday and Monday.

It’s also something of a moot point, as those efforts have been kept at arms-length while the RDN and City of Parksville place their faith in the new Englishman River Water System to create a better year-round balance of water.

But there are also steps individuals can take — and have taken — to do their own part to conserve water or have just a little more available when it’s most needed.

Bluenose Motors of Parksville, in a story recently featured in The NEWS, created a water recovery system for the car wash at its new detailing shop.

A recent series published by the Cowichan Valley Citizen asked readers for their own ideas, and received some great water-saving measures.

There was a farm that dug out an irrigation pond, a pair of rural homeowners who’ve installed a cistern, micro-drip irrigation and mulch, and a suburban couple who have put in very small ponds and underground liners to hold in moisture in their raised beds.

On commenter said they had also installed a huge underground cistern before they had their house built, which provides for their summer water needs. This is an excellent idea that anyone who is building should consider. Continued droughts are the wave of the future, and the more winter rainfall we can carry into the summer, the better.

And this is the most effective way to do it, one person at a time, one property at a time. We can all contribute.

Black Press

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