Drought hurting pocketbooks on Vancouver Island

Drought hurting pocketbooks on Vancouver Island

WATCH: While most people in greater Victoria are connected to city water many in the western communities rely on rain to fill their wells and run their businesses. Luisa Alvarez went to see how this drought is affecting their daily lives.

Metchosin sheep farmer John Buchannan is really feeling the effects of the drought, especially in his wallet.

“Its tough lets put it that way,” said Buchannan.

The hot,dry conditions have dried up the grass his sheep usually graze sooner than normal. And no grass means his sheep are eating hay which doesn’t come cheap.

At $30-a-month per sheep, he’s looking at a $9,000 bill.

“If it stays like this we could have them on hay September, October November and those extra months would be too much,” said Buchannan.

He’s looking into using city water for his fields but even with the farmer discount that may not be economically viable for his business long term.

“You could usually put on city water for strawberries because strawberries are a high-value crop but for grass, it’s on the edge. We are hoping it works because it would be a way to reduce the effects of these frequent droughts,” said Buchannan.

And it won’t be another few years until Buchannan knows for sure.

Meanwhile, running out of water isn’t yet a concern for those hooked up to Capital Regional District water since the reservoir in Sooke still sits at around 80 per cent full but, for East Sooke resident Kim meadows who relies on well water its a different story.

“We ran out of water about ten days ago. Completely well dry, cistern dry nothing. Even all my water collection that we did all winter long is gone, long gone,” said Meadows.

Her garden has had to suffer along with her plants.

But for basic living, Meadows spent $200 dollars out of pocket to get her well and cistern refilled. But not long after that too was gone.

“The ground is just so dry that half of my well absorbed back into the ground,” said Meadows.

The ring of green grass around her well is happy but Kim’s problem remains.

And its a problem East Sooke resident Richard Lambert says needs to be addressed.

“Its as simple as that when you have a well in a drought that well can dry up and I think all people in this area having paid their taxes for years and years deserve a little bit more attention,” said Lambert.

Especially since long spells without rain could be the new normal.

Luisa AlvarezLuisa Alvarez

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