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1st September 2015
EDITORS NOTE: It is our thoughts that if our watershed was not clear cut and steep sides of the mountains had been left with trees...we would not have boil water advisories!

by Darrell Bellaart - Nanaimo Daily News

posted Aug 29, 2015 at 8:00 AM— updated Aug 31, 2015 at 8:57 AM

Officials are bracing for a possible impact on Nanaimo’s water quality this weekend from a major weather system looming over southern B.C.

Heavy rain has the potential to cloud normally clear drinking water, which could lead to a boil water advisory.

City of Nanaimo waterworks officials issued a notice on Friday, after Environment Canada alerted the public about a “major change in the weather pattern,” following a prolonged summer drought. Nanaimo’s drinking water comes from the south fork of the Nanaimo River. During drought, the forest floor becomes littered with dust and debris.

“If you douse that with heavy rain, you’re going to get excess stuff carried into the water supply,” said Bill Sims, City of Nanaimo manager of water resources.

Chlorination may not completely kill the microbes that pose a health threat, especially for seniors, youngsters and others with a weakened immunity.

“There is certainly a higher risk of pathogens and bacteria getting into the water and there’s a risk that disinfection will not be as effective,” Sims said.

Past heavy rain events, usually in winter, have taught city officials that storms can affect water quality. For most people, it’s more of an inconvenience than a threat, but if residents notice a brown colour they should check with local media sources or online to see if a boil advisory has been issued, Sims said.

Two storms converged over southern B.C. Friday, merging two jet streams into a single river of sub-tropical moisture that bathed the south B.C. coast with the first significant rainfall in months. Forecasts call for between 80 to 120 millimetres of rain through Monday morning.

“What’s most significant about this weather pattern, it’s going to stick around for quite a while,” said Lisa Coldwells, Environment Canada meteorologist.

Today’s forecast calls for 20-30 mm of rain in Nanaimo, a high of 18 C, showers and a low of 13. Periods of rain are forecast through Wednesday. For current weather forecasts visit Follow the city of Nanaimo twitter feed for boil advisories: cityofnanaimo.