Drought conditions exist despite rain

Water conservation urged in the Cowichan Valley

As the Cowichan Valley enters the summer months, water resources are under increasing demand. However, residents are to be congratulated for lowering their water consumption after the Stage 2 water restrictions came into effect in early June.

“Way to go Cowichan. Our water consumption is down from this time last year,” says Board Chair Jon Lefebure. “It is great that residents have responded to the request to decrease water consumption by 30 per cent.”

While consumption levels are down from last year, the region is still in Drought Level 3 and has more work to do in conserving its water resources. The water being used by the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s (CVRD) 19 water utilities is 13 per cent higher than the provincial average (353.5 litres/person/day (LPD) vs the provincial average of 311.9 LPD).

The cooler weather and grey skies may be masking the severity of the drought. Rainfall in April and May was less than 25 per cent of normal and June has seen only 50 to 60 per cent of normal precipitation for the first half of the month. June is typically the last opportunity to make up precipitation levels before the dry months of July and August. With the below average rainfall, this likely won’t happen.

“I encourage Cowichan Valley residents to continue their water conservation efforts,” says Lefebure. “This conservation will help us protect our water resources as we enter the typically drier summer months.”

Stage 2 water restrictions include:

– Limiting sprinkler use from 7 to 9 a.m. or 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays for even numbered houses and on Thursdays and Sundays for odd numbered houses to a maximum of two hours per day.

• No permits issued for watering of new lawns

• For trees, shrubs and gardens:

• If hand watering, watering is limited to 7 to 9 a.m. or 7 to 9 p.m. for a maximum of two hours per day.

• If using micro or drip irrigation, watering is permitted anytime, up to a maximum of 4 hours per day

• Washing houses, driveways and sidewalks not permitted

Many parts of the CVRD also remain at a high fire risk level due to the lack of rainfall, making for dry conditions. The current fire hazard risk in the CVRD is low to moderate.

For tips on water conservation, information on water restrictions, drought conditions and fire risk conditions please visit cvrd.bc.ca/drought.