Temperatures, rain, drop drought level

The drought level for the Cowichan Valley region has dropped a level

The drought level for the Cowichan Valley region has dropped a level due to lower-than-anticipated temperatures and more rainfall than was expected so far this summer.

The region had been under Level 4 drought conditions, the most severe, for almost a month.

Level 4 is considered as “extremely dry” conditions, with the area’s water supply deemed as insufficient to meet the needs of the community.

But the province dropped the rating back to Level 3 on July 14, which is considered as “very dry” conditions that could have “potentially serious” impacts on the area’s water supply.

Kate Miller, manager of environmental services at the Cowichan Valley Regional District, said it has been a little cooler than it had been over the last few weeks, and the region has had about the normal amount of rain that it should have at this point in July.

“It’s a bit of a reprieve, and that means that there has not been so much pressure on our water systems,” Miller said.

“It’s hard to tell what the rest of the summer will bring, and I wish I had a crystal ball to determine that, but Environment Canada is still saying we can expect above normal temperatures for much of the summer. So we could return to a Level 4 drought rating at some point.”

But Miller said most of the CVRD is still operating under Stage 2 watering restrictions.

Stage 2 water restrictions require that the watering of lawns only be permitted either between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., or between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays for even-numbered houses, and Thursdays and Sundays for odd-numbered houses.

The washing of driveways, houses and sidewalks is not permitted at this stage.

Two areas of the CVRD, Woodley Range, which is located near Ladysmith, and Burnum, near Cobble Hill, are currently operating under the more severe Stage 3 water restrictions.

The water supplies from the two areas come from aquifers, as opposed to municipal utilities, and are facing challenges as the summer continues.

For those operating under Stage 3 restrictions, only the watering of gardens, trees and shrubs is allowed, but under severely restricted times.

For information on drought levels and water supplies in the region, visit the CVRD’s website at www.cvrd.bc.ca.