The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) lifted all water restrictions and area burning bans Tuesday after the Coast received more than 50 millimetres of rain, ending the region's longest drought in recorded history.
Environment Canada said a total of 52.4 mm of rainfall was recorded at the Sechelt Airport weather station since Friday, Oct. 12.
“We most likely got considerably more than that up the mountain at our lakes, but we don't have a rain gauge up there yet,” said Bryan Shoji, the SCRD's general manager of infrastructure services.
Shoji said he felt “a lot better” than he had the previous week when the forecast suggested most of the precipitation would fall north of the Coast.
Prior to Friday, only 13 mm of rain had fallen since July 4.
The downpour replenished the combined storage of Chapman and Edwards lakes to about 60 per cent of capacity by Tuesday morning, up from an estimated 25 per cent the previous week.
Under the SCRD drought management plan, levels below 30 per cent are classed as severe, while levels above 60 per cent are considered normal.
Shoji said the record-breaking drought drew the SCRD close to a water crisis, but the public stepped up and made a difference, reducing consumption by 50 per cent after stage three and four restrictions were imposed.
“The public's co-operation allowed our supplies to be stretched out until the rains came, and prevented us from having to pump water over the lake weirs,” he said.
In a release issued Tuesday morning, SCRD board chair Garry Nohr also thanked residents and businesses for their water conservation efforts during the drought.
The lifting of water restrictions applies to the areas south of Pender Harbour, where the outdoor water use ban was not in effect. The backyard burning ban was lifted for areas B, D, E and F.
The water restrictions were also lifted for the District of Sechelt and the Town of Gibsons. With about two-thirds of the Town drawing its water from the aquifer, and aquifer levels reportedly healthy, some Gibsons residents used the Oct. 11 public hearing on the Gospel Rock neighbourhood plan to complain of being lumped together under the SCRD ban, saying it was ridiculous they couldn't even water their garden tomatoes.