Severe water restrictions in place for Sunshine Coast residents - BC |

Severe water restrictions in place for Sunshine Coast residents – BC |

The Sunshine Coast Regional District has imposed a Stage 4 water restriction for some of its residents, starting on Friday.

Until further notice, members of the public on the Chapman and Eastbourne water systems will be restricted from using outside water. That includes watering lawns and plants, washing vehicles and boats, washing driveways and houses, and filling swimming pools or other outdoor water features, such as ponds.

Level 4 is the most severe water restriction that can be imposed. Affected communities include Secret Cove, Halfmoon Bay, Sechelt, Selma Park, Wilson Creek and Roberts Creek.

Property classified as agricultural land under the BC Assessment Act, which pays a water meter rate, is exempt from Level 4 water conservation requirements for a period of two weeks.

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The entire region is under a Level 5 drought advisory, and the BC government is warning that negative impacts on the region’s ecosystems are almost certain.

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Sechelt Mayor John Henderson said the region needs to update its water supply systems to address these issues in future droughts.

“For many years we have been facing a water shortage. We are lucky to have a lot of water, we just couldn’t use it enough,” Henderson told Global News.

“Over the past few years, the problems have been very severe with long and prolonged droughts. It was a tough situation last fall and we are facing the same thing this year. “

Henderson said the area needs both short-term and long-term solutions.

“The long-term options will take a long time. We need world-class experts and time to build things like dams and access to lakes,” he said.

“But between now and then, we need short-term solutions. We need answers now.”

Henderson said he has reached out to the province for help but has yet to receive a response.

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Two other water systems in the Sunshine Coast region are also under water restrictions.

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The South Pender Harbor Water System is under Level 3. That means members of the public can only water trees and plants with a hand-held hose or a hand-held container for one hour a day. Watering lawns and watering food producing plants with a sprinkler, soaker hose, or micro-spray is prohibited.

Vehicles and boats may only be washed to remove seawater, and fill ponds, washhouses and walkways are prohibited.

Irrigation of food-producing plants and trees with a hand-held bowl, nozzle, or drip irrigation is permitted for two hours per day.

And finally, the North Pender Harbor Water System is under a Level 1 water restriction. That means residents can water their lawn twice a week, and they can water their trees and plants three times a week.

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While BC’s fire situation is improving, Emergency Management and Climate Preparedness Minister Bowinn Ma said Thursday that the province remains in severe drought condition.

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“It is unlike any other type of drought the province has ever faced, and in my opinion, it is really a dormant natural disaster that we are being challenged with now – the impacts will be huge, really,” said Ma.

“I don’t say these things with the intention of scaring people, but it is important that we really understand the seriousness of the drought situation we are in, and why, when we take the steps we do to put water and fish safety orders, “we are doing it just because it is necessary.”

Ma said drought conditions remain high throughout the province, the effects of which have already been felt by the ecosystem, business, breeders and farmers. Fish stocking could be more vulnerable with low river levels, he said, adding that action had already been taken in those areas.

The province has been working with communities on water conservation and water licensees to reduce voluntary water use since April, he said.

– With files from Simon Little.

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