Cooler temperatures and increased rainfall typical of autumn have allowed the province to downgrade the drought level to Level 2 for east Vancouver Island, including the Cowichan Valley.
The reduced drought level means that local governments have called for a change in water restrictions as well, from Stage 2 to Stage 1.
The new water restrictions apply to Ladysmith, Chemainus, Duncan, the Town of Lake Cowichan, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, the Cowichan Tribes and the Municipality of North Cowichan.
Stage 1 water restrictions include limiting sprinkler use from 7 to 9 a.m. or 7 to 9 p.m. on even days for even numbered houses and on odd days for odd numbered houses to a maximum of two hours a day.
The same restrictions apply to watering new lawns.
Trees, shrubs and gardens can be hand watered from 7 to 9 a.m. or 7 to 9 p.m. up to two hours a day. Micro or drip irrigation is permitted any time for up to four hours a day.
Washing houses, driveways and sidewalks is also permitted.
Mill Bay Waterworks District and the CRVD’s Woodley Ridge water systems remain at Stage 3.
Water board chair Jon Lefebure thanked everyone for their efforts for conserving water throughout the late spring and summer.
“The summer of 2016 brought a second year drought conditions, with most of the Cowichan Valley being under Stage 2 restrictions since early June,” Lefebure said in a media release. “Climate change is having a significant impact on the region, and can only be addressed by everyone working together.”