The heat wave we’ve been experiencing as we head into September has really underlined just how dry everything is.
We’ve been extraordinarily fortunate so far and no large wildfires are burning in or near Cowichan. None of us have had the terrible experience of having to decide, with very little time for thought, what we want to take with us during an evacuation, as our friends and family in the Interior have had to do. The fires are close enough, though, that this week we’re breathing in the smoke from them for the second time this summer, as ash hazes out the sun.
But while our land is not on fire, it’s sure thirsty.
The provincial government announced a level 3 drought rating just before the Labour Day long weekend and called for voluntary water-use reductions of 30 per cent on the Island.
Here is Cowichan, the Koksilah River and the fish it supports are in peril, as water levels are hitting critical.
The earth is so dry it is cracking, and if you do dump water onto the soil most of it runs off. The ground is too hard to accept much at once.
The dire warnings of last year have not materialized for the Cowichan River — yet. But everything we know tells us this kind of weather — water feast, followed by water famine — is what we can expect in the future. And those temperature records that keep falling? Well those are going to continue to fall too, as the mercury continues to rise.
No, it’s not unusual for us to have a late summer/early fall warm spell. But mid-30s C is unusual.
In the years to come we’re not going to be able to take water for granted, as we still do now, in spite of several years of drought in a row. Many seem to still behave as if things are going to return to how they used to be. But we can’t afford to live in that dream. As individuals, businesses, industries and communities, we need to change.
The insurance industry can’t be the only one prepared for what climate change is bringing.