The main water supply for the Sunshine Coast is in better shape than it was this time last year, but that’s no reason for water users to get lax about conservation, according to the head of the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) water system.
“It could get serious again,” Bryan Shoji, the SCRD’s general manager of infrastructure services, told Coast Reporter on Aug. 21.
Stage two watering restrictions remain in effect and there is no immediate prospect of the SCRD having to impose stage three restrictions, as it did during last year’s record drought.
“We’re sitting at roughly 80 per cent of our lake storage. We don’t go to stage three until we’re down to 60 per cent. We figure we have a 40-day supply with no rain till we reach stage three,” Shoji said.
Despite the 40-day buffer, Shoji said, the public should not get complacent.
“If it’s the same as last year when we didn’t get rain till Oct. 11, that’s beyond the 40 days,” he said.
Recent showers did not have any significant impact on Chapman Lake storage levels, but they did help the system by cutting back on consumption, Shoji said.
Another plus has been the installation of a remote-control device on the dam gate at Chapman Lake. Until this year, crews had to fly up to the lake in a helicopter to manually adjust the flow.
“So we’ve optimized our releases at the gate,” Shoji said. “It’s more efficient and way more cost-effective.”
Since the SCRD moved to stage two restrictions on Aug. 6, enforcement patrols have issued 39 warnings and a number of violation tickets, he said.
Under stage two, sprinklers can be used on lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers or vegetables from 7 to 9 p.m. only, two days a week — Tuesday and Thursday for addresses with even numbers, and Monday and Wednesday for addresses with odd numbers.
While hand-held hoses with shut-off devices can be used any time for watering trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables, hosing sidewalks and driveways is not allowed under stage two.
“Officially we don’t ban washing down exterior building surfaces until stage three, but we highly recommend that you don’t. Wait until the fall,” Shoji said.
Washing vehicles is also allowed under stage two, but not stage three, he said.
The restrictions do not apply to water systems in Pender Harbour, which remain at stage one until further notice.
For more information, visit www.scrd.ca.