Drought Response on the Sunshine Coast: Stage 4 water restrictions implemented as water supply become critical



Sunshine Coast Faces Spectre of Water Shortages as Restrictions Increase

Conditions were so dry in B.C’s Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast and Fraser Valley that the provincial government on July 15, 2015 raised the drought rating to the highest category — Level 4 — and warned that if things got worse, water shortages could affect people, industry and agriculture.

This provincial drought rating is distinct from the regional ratings used by water managers, such as Metro Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD).

On August 12, the Sunshine Coast moved from Stage 3 to Stage 4 restrictions. This bans all outdoor watering, including when using a garden hose, watering cans or drip irrigation systems. Only grey water can be used. The SCRD is  warning that water could run out by September.

Dry Weather Results in Reservoir Depletion

“The community’s water conservation efforts during this period of drought have been remarkable” says Bryan Shoji, SCRD general manager of Infrastructure Services.

Bryan Shoji_2015_120p“Water use has decreased by approximately 40 [per cent] since going to Stage 3. Unfortunately, this unprecedented hot and dry weather has resulted in drier conditions within the watershed, which is causing our available water supply to deplete more rapidly as time goes on. As these weather conditions are forecasted to continue into the fall, Stage 4 restrictions are necessary in order to extend our available water supply into the fall when the probability of rain increases.”

In addition to water conservation measures, the SCRD is working to deploy an emergency backup system to access water in lower reaches of Chapman Lake.

Metro Vancouver said that if Vancouverites continue to keep daily water consumption below 1.2 billion litres, they do no anticipate Stage 4 restrictions being necessary.

2015-Outdoor Waster Use Restrictions - colour chart