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11th July 2015
The ongoing drought affecting all of Vancouver Island has forced the region’s municipalities and regional districts to take some unusual steps to help conserve water, while continuing to provide services for its residents.

“While Nanaimo remains on Twice per Week watering (Level 2), we are also encouraging residents and businesses to allow their lawns to go dormant over the summer. The most effective means of reaching the highest level of water conservation is through education, rather than enforcement. Building awareness around the priorities of water use will help raise the public’s awareness of the value of our most precious resource,” a July 10 media release stated.

In Parksville, and throughout the Regional District of Nanaimo’s (RDN) water service area, Level 4 water restrictions have been imposed – the highest level possible. “On Thursday, July 9, the City of Parksville along with the Regional District of Nanaimo will move to a Comprehensive Watering Ban (Level 4 Water Conservation). The City of Parksville is in a drought situation and is experiencing a reduction in emergency water storage levels which could severely impact our ability to fight a large fire or, after using water resources to fight fire, impact our ability to meet water requirements for residents and businesses,” the city stated.

Level 4 restrictions mean no one in Parksville and surrounding area can wash their cars, RV or boats. No swimming or wading pools can be filled nor can hot tubs or garden water features, among other restrictions. In an announcement the City of Parksville stated that it would strategically stop watering certain irrigated areas such as boulevards and traffic islands; however, major functional economic assets such as sports fields and significant trees will continue to be preserved using the advanced and efficient irrigation system which is in place.

Likewise in Nanaimo the city will continue to maintain sports fields and other public areas, but at a reduced level. The thrust of the city’s efforts involve shutting down irrigation to lawns at city-owned facilities and along roadway medians. Sports fields, which are considered an important community asset, are being watered at reduced levels, to ensure that they remain viable. However, watering sports fields has been reduced by 50 percent or more, and the lesser used fields are being shut off. Young saplings are being protected as well.

Level 3 watering restrictions are in place in the Town of Ladysmith, Diamond Improvement District, Stz’uminus First Nation lands and throughout all of the communities of the Cowichan Valley. The City of Duncan stated that Commercial enterprises which require water to facilitate normal business activities such as power washing companies or window washing companies continue to be permitted, unless ordered otherwise, but are expected to conserve as much water as possible without resulting in a loss of business.

With no end in sight to these unusual drought conditions local government leaders throughout the Central Vancouver Island area are taking whatever steps they can to help conserve the available water supply, while doing what they can to maintain basic services for their citizens