With little to no rainfall in the forecast and reservoir levels continuing to decrease, the city of Port Alberni has imposed stage two watering restrictions.
City engineer Guy Cicon said that the city is tracking consumption carefully. City crews go up to the city’s main water reservoir, Lizard Lake, weekly to monitor lake levels. Lizard Lake feeds China Creek, where the main water intake for the city is located.
If needed, the city can also draw from Bainbridge Lake.
When stage one water restrictions were imposed back on June 8, Cicon said it was the earliest he’d ever done so and that he couldn’t remember a time when water restrictions hit stage two.
According to Cicon, water usage reaches an average of 18,000 cubic metres in the summer months before restrictions kick in.
“We’d like to see that trend down,” said Cicon.
“Depending on the weather, we have seen a drop down to 14,000 cubic metres and in the last few days it’s been much lower too,” said Cicon.
“We’re keeping an eye on consumption, it’s really important for us to help make decisions around our next stages,” said Cicon.
On average, a resident living in a single family dwelling in Port Alberni uses 254 litres per day, Cicon noted, while someone living in a multi-family dwelling, like an apartment building uses approximately 217 litres daily.
According to an Environment Canada report from 2009, those numbers are below average for B.C. municipalities of similar size. The average for both single and multi-family is 353 per capita litres daily.
The Port Alberni single family dwelling average is also 16 litres below the Canadian average.
Cicon said that going to stage two water restrictions is largely a precautionary measure.
“Our latest inspection was on Friday (July 10) and lake levels are still holding firm though they are dropping through seepage and evaporation,” he said.
“In essence, our natural lake reservoirs are holding on. We’ll start tapping into those when the creek system reduces its flows.”
Stage two water restrictions went into effect Monday and further restrict outdoor water usage.
Lawn water is reduced to twice a week, from three times weekly at stage one.
Even numbered homes can sprinkle from 6-9 a.m. or 7-10 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays while odd numbered homes can sprinkle on Thursdays and Sundays at those times.
Vegetable gardens, decorative planters, shrubs and shrubs and trees may be hand watered using a spring loaded shut off nozzle or bucket from 6-9 a.m. or 7-10 p.m. for a maximum of two hours a day.
Cars, homes and boats may also only be washed with a spring loaded shut off nozzle or bucket and sidewalks and driveways cannot be washed with treated drinking water at all.
Pools, ponds and recirculated fountains may only be topped up, not filled from empty.
Commercial pressure washing, gardens and car washing are exempt at this stage.
City parks and fields will be watered in accordance with water restrictions, director of parks recreation and heritage Scott Kenny told council.