As noted in Wednesday’s editorial, many people have started to water their gardens already this year.
People are also getting outdoors and using water for a lot of other, less worthy, projects, as they seek to get them in ahead of summer water restrictions that are likely to get a lot more rigorous as the days progress.
But we should already be looking to curb out water habits. The outlook for summer water flows in the Cowichan River are dire.
Last year things were bad. This year, things look worse.
At this time last summer the lake had 86 per cent of its stored water left. Right now, there’s only a paltry 53 per cent of stored water left for this summer.
By May 27 we will be at low summer flows for the river, as officials try to conserve what’s left so that we’ll make it until fall, when the rain traditionally comes.
Officials say we’re already going to lose some fish in the coming weeks, as side channels dry up faster than in the past.
It’s a sobering picture.
The Cowichan is just one of the rivers that feeds our Valley with fresh water.
One can only imagine that the outlook for the others is equally grim.
Is this the year when the Cowichan River actually runs dry, rather than just threatening to do so?
Will others precede and follow it down to dust?
Fortunately, we do have some say over whether we face a full-blown water crisis.
For example, while we may not technically be hemmed in by summer water restrictions just yet, it behoves us all to start conserving early.
Perhaps put off some of the water-heavy projects that you don’t absolutely need to get done immediately.
Start getting into the swing of conservation with shorter showers and turning the tap off while you brush your teeth.
If you’re so inclined, save your grey water from washing the dishes and other chores to put onto the garden.
Your plants don’t care if the water they’re drinking is pristine from the tap or not.
Many of us have carried our water-saving habits on all year long, as we attempt to adapt to what the Cowichan Valley Regional District is promoting as the new normal (in other words, getting by with less water on a day-to-day basis).
All of us should do the same.
Clearly the days of being able to take water for granted in the Cowichan Valley 365 days a year are over.
We need to start looking seriously at water capture, when we have so much liquid sunshine in the winter months that it spill over and floods.
Our problem isn’t a lack of total water, it’s a question of making it last.