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 districtâ€™s water consumption by 20 per cent from last summer.
â€œTourism Tofino had already taken the step of a proactive â€˜Every drop countsâ€™ campaign with the accommodation sector, and the District is building on that to reach out to the entire community,â€ Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne told the Westerly.
â€œWeâ€™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 communityâ€™s water consumption on the municipal website.â€
Osborne said the idea for a community-wide conservation campaign was struck by herself and district CAO Bob MacPherson simultaneously.
â€œMy background in environmental education taught me that a proactive, positive campaign was critical to launching conservation measures,â€ she said.
â€œI was doodling in my notebook about all the conservation measures we need to take as a community and I walked into the CAOâ€™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.â€
She hopes Tofitians will rise to the challenge.
â€œWeâ€™ve partnered with Tourism Tofino to produce posters and rack cards for the accommodation sector, and we have met with many of Tofinoâ€™s larger water users. All the responses have been very positive,â€ she said.
â€œI think people see value not only in conserving water so we have a successful summer, but theyâ€™re also thinking about the value of our drinking water and how a conservation mindset should really be the â€˜new normal.â€™â€
Anyone wanting to follow along with the 20 per cent challenge can find weekly water consumption reports on the districtâ€™s website.
The district has posted weekly water consumption data from 2014 to compare to 2015â€™s numbers and has also included numbers from 2006â€”the year Tofinoâ€™s low water levels reached a critical stage.
Osborne acknowledged the dry weather has likely put Tofinoâ€™s 2006 water shortage â€œon the back of everyoneâ€™s minds,â€ but she noted two key changes have been put in place since then.
â€œFirst, we have a greatly increased treatment and storage capacity with the Ahkmahksis reservoir and treatment plant, and the Stump Dump reservoir,â€ 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.â€