Non-potable water sources have been opened up in Gibsons and Sechelt in an effort to help residents keep their plants alive during Stage 4 watering restrictions.
As soon as Stage 4 restrictions were put in place on Aug. 13, Gibsons Mayor Wayne Rowe scheduled a meeting with senior staff to find a solution for local gardeners.
“My feeling was that we can’t just say to people ‘too bad, too sad, you can’t water,’ without giving them some kind of option. I felt it was very important we made sure there was something available,” Rowe said.
After looking at various options, an ornamental waterfall across from Winegarden Park was identified as the best location for residents to fill containers.
The small waterfall runs almost constantly with untreated overflow groundwater, and while it’s not safe to drink, it’s safe for use on gardens.
“There may be some times when our town pumps are working to fill reservoirs that it may sort of siphon off the water from there temporarily, but for the most part it should be available fairly continuously for people,” Rowe said.
In Sechelt, a non-potable water supply was made available on Aug. 14 at the former Ebbtide sewage treatment plant.
“An unstaffed water container filling station is available for residents to use. The water source is untreated, naturally occurring ground water,” said Sechelt Mayor Bruce Milne in a press release.
“It has been tested and approved for outdoor non-potable uses. The District has been successfully using this source for over a month to water ornamental plantings on public property while reducing our use of the Sunshine Coast Regional District’s (SCRD) water supply.”
In order to make the water source available to the public, a filling station was constructed on short notice by the District of Sechelt for less than $500 with the help of AJ Pumps.
The filling station utilizes a pressure tank with a limited capacity of water, although the water source is constant, so filling larger containers may take several minutes.
The public is requested to ensure the valve is closed completely when leaving the filling station and to take only what’s needed to keep gardens alive.
“We are very pleased that our residents can access water to maintain their landscaping and gardens while continuing to respect the regional watering restrictions,” Milne noted.
Stage 4 watering restrictions are in effect for all of the Sunshine Coast south of Pender Harbour. The restrictions prohibit all outdoor watering with SCRD water until further notice.