New water restrictions have been developed and put in place by the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD).
Under the Stage 4 water restrictions — developed with municipalities and First Nations — the use of outdoor sprinklers, filling or topping off pools, hot tubs, ponds or fountains along with washing vehicles, boats, structures or surfaces are not allowed, according to the CVRD.
They say hand-watering and micro drip are allowed under a schedule along with water use for health reasons, cleaning of vehicle lights and licence plates.
Car dealerships can continue to use water, and school and sports fields will see reduced watering or be eliminated where possible, according to the district.
The district says only two areas are being affected at the moment, Shellwood – North Oyster/Diamond and Burnum – Shawnigan Lake. They say residents in other areas are asked to consider abiding by the restrictions.
The new water restrictions have been developed by the CVRD Regional Emergency Operation Centre after the province announced Drought Level 5 for eastern Vancouver Island, according to the CVRD.
CVRD chair Aaron Stone says they were developed as the dry conditions are not something the area has seen before.
“This is a drought situation that we’ve come close to in the past but never experienced until now,” said Stone in the release. “It’s been months since we
have had significant rainfall in the region, and for many of our watersheds, the circumstances are dire.”
The district asks residents follow the restrictions until the rain returns.
“Look at and embrace the restrictions we’re asking everyone to adhere to until the rains return,” said Stone. “Water is our most precious and critical resource. We’re all in this together when facing such an extreme drought.”