Stage 1 water restrictions hit Tofino

Summertime has landed in Tofino and this year it packed a carry-on of water restrictions.

Tofino’s district office officially put Stage 1 water restrictions in effect on June 3.

The restrictions mean residents with even numbered addresses may only water their lawns and gardens on Tuesdays and Fridays and residents with odd numbered addresses may only do their watering on Mondays and Thursdays.

All watering must take place between 6-9 a.m. and 7-10 p.m. on permitted days and no unattended watering is allowed at any time.

In an email to the Westerly News, Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne suggested locals have been enjoying a solid string of sunny days and weren’t exactly blindsided by the news.

“After such a prolonged period with no rain, no one seems surprised that we find ourselves in Stage 1 water restrictions,” Osborne said adding many Vancouver Island municipalities have put water conservation measures in effect.

She cited two key reasons why water restrictions are important.

“First, there is a true need to ramp down on outdoor water use after prolonged periods of no rain, and use potable water more wisely. Tofino’s water system relies on the natural recharging ability of Meares Island watersheds to keep the creeks flowing—the same creeks that feed our water system. As summer wears on, we rely more on the recharging ability of these watersheds than we do on daily precipitation,” she said.

“The second reason is to keep water conservation top of mind for everyone as we enter the period of highest demand, and to get people ready to potentially enter higher levels of water conservation measures.”

 She noted Tofino’s Stage 1 water restrictions automatically kick in if two weeks go by without rainfall between May-October.

 â€œIt’s a proactive measure, and a sign that with further absence of precipitation when entering the season of greater overall demand, we have to rely on conservation in addition to the natural ability of local watersheds to recharge local reservoirs,” she said.

The decision to lift the water restrictions will be up to Tofino’s manager of public works Bob Schantz and he told the Westerly a significant amount of rain would need to fall for him to entertain the idea. 

“We did have a really dry May and we have a dry June coming up,” he said.

 â€œIf we had at least a week of really good steady rain then we could potentially lift the restrictions.”

He said the district’s bylaw enforcement team would be on patrol and making sure the restrictions are being adhered to but suggested the district does not expect much pushback from locals.

“The only thing it really restricts is outdoor watering…We don’t think Stage 1 really affects Tofino that much because there’s not a lot of people here who water their lawns,” he said.

“It’s more of a note to people to start thinking about their water use (and) not to be wasteful with their water…In the summertime it’s just a good thing to be conscious of how much water you’re using.”

Andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca