Editorial: Low water levels on Vancouver Island worrying

This is the time of year when our lakes are usually filled to capacity and beyond

As one expert observer so memorably put it, “we don’t need to light our hair on fire yet”, but the level of water in Vancouver Island’s watersheds is highly concerning.

Ladysmith reservoirs may currently be in good shape, according to the most recent data on the town’s website, but that is no thanks to Mother Nature.

“Winter drought” has the Comox Lake/Puntledge River system at a 50-year low for this time of year. The Cowichan Stewardship Roundtable has reported Cowichan Lake is only at about 40 per cent capacity, a level not usually seen until August. What it will mean when it really is August is what’s so worrying.

This is the time of year when our lakes are usually filled to capacity and beyond. Some years have seen flooding during this period. Even then we’ve still experienced summer droughts that have led to dangerously dry conditions that have threatened fish, drinking water and more.

Snow pack is nature’s storage system, and when snow pack is low there is less water for later in the season. Cowichan Valley Regional District chair Ian Morrison tells us that snow pack is also a concern this year.

A few good, wet storms can certainly still change conditions significantly. But so far we’ve had an unusually dry winter and there’s no guarantee that will change as we head into spring.

But we remember 2015 when our water supply reached its lowest recorded levels and we survived thanks to a dedicated and diligent water conservation effort.

Which brings us to the point that it’s never too early in the year to begin conserving water. We would certainly hope that nobody is yet watering their lawns and gardens, which would be a terrible waste.

But it seems like a good idea, under the circumstances, to pull out a few of the water conservation methods you might otherwise reserve for summer, such as not washing the car as often, and if you do, not leaving the hose running while you do it. Maybe think twice before getting out the power washer. Shorten up your showers and remember to turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth.

If you have a system to store water yourself in cisterns or barrels, it would be a good time to make sure you’re filling to capacity.

We can no longer afford, even in winter, to behave as if our water supply is endless. Taking action now, even if it turns out not to be necessary later on, is the smart thing to do.

Just Posted

New study explores possibilty of restorative justice in Ladysmith

The LRCA recieved a grant from the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office to conduct the study

LRCA Concerts in the Park series presents: Beatlemania Unplugged

This will be the final Concerts in the Park event of the summer

Arts on the Avenue turns 21 this weekend

1st Avenue will have a weekend full of arts on display Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon

Thirst aid

Chemainus kids take a stand to sell lemonade, and at only 25 cents a glass

Ladysmith gallery hosts Island Living Art Show

Nanaimo Arts Council exhibition opens at the Waterfront Gallery on Aug. 24

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Most Read