Water restrictions pour into not-so-wet Coast

Both Tofino and Ucluelet are under Stage 2 water restrictions.

Tofino coupled its Stage 2 announcement with the launch of a new campaign aimed at lowering the district’s water consumption by 20 per cent from last summer.

“Tourism Tofino had already taken the step of a proactive ‘Every drop counts’ campaign with the accommodation sector, and the District is building on that to reach out to the entire community,” Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne told the Westerly.

“We’ve launched the 20% Challenge, a campaign to motivate all sectors in Tofino to conserve water. That comes with a social media hashtag, #TofinoH2O so people can share photos and tips. As well, the District has greatly increased the amount of signage, public information bulletins, and posted our community’s water consumption on the municipal website.”

Osborne said the idea for a community-wide conservation campaign was struck by herself and district CAO Bob MacPherson simultaneously.

“My background in environmental education taught me that a proactive, positive campaign was critical to launching conservation measures,” she said.

“I was doodling in my notebook about all the conservation measures we need to take as a community and I walked into the CAO’s office to talk to him about it, glanced at his whiteboard, and he had written up nearly the exact same list of ideas as I had.”

She hopes Tofitians will rise to the challenge.

“We’ve partnered with Tourism Tofino to produce posters and rack cards for the accommodation sector, and we have met with many of Tofino’s larger water users. All the responses have been very positive,” she said.

 â€œI think people see value not only in conserving water so we have a successful summer, but they’re also thinking about the value of our drinking water and how a conservation mindset should really be the ‘new normal.’”

Anyone wanting to follow along with the 20 per cent challenge can find weekly water consumption reports on the district’s website.

The district has posted weekly water consumption data from 2014 to compare to 2015’s numbers and has also included numbers from 2006—the year Tofino’s low water levels reached a critical stage.

Osborne acknowledged the dry weather has likely put Tofino’s 2006 water shortage “on the back of everyone’s minds,” but she noted two key changes have been put in place since then.

“First, we have a greatly increased treatment and storage capacity with the Ahkmahksis reservoir and treatment plant, and the Stump Dump reservoir,” she said.

 â€œSecond, we have begun a communicative and proactive campaign to educate everyone about the need for conservation due to drought-like conditions on Vancouver Island and the dry weather forecasts for Tofino.”

 

Andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca