More water restrictions come to Comox Valley as BC Hydro tries to conserve water in local reservoir

More water restrictions come to Comox Valley as BC Hydro tries to conserve water in local reservoir

Residents of the Comox Valley will need to increase their water conservation efforts as the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) enters stage three water restrictions Monday.

The water restrictions will impact the City of Courtenay, the Town of Comox and the Comox Valley Water Local Service Area.

Stage three water restrictions means that no lawns can be watered at any time, pressure washing driveways and boulevards is prohibited, and residents can no longer fill swimming pools, garden ponds or hot tubs.

Residents are also barred from washing their car or boat, unless at a commercial business.

Residents can still water shrubs, flowers, vegetables and trees at any time as long as they water it by a hand-held container, a micro-irrigation system or a hand-held hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle, according to the CVRD.

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BC Hydro intervention

The CVRD is entering stage three water restrictions as BC Hydro reduces water flows to the Puntledge River via the Comox Lake Reservoir.

According to BC Hydro, the Comox Lake Reservoir usually drops to between 131 and 153.3 metres above sea-level during the summer months.

If the reservoir drops below 131 metres, then water flow to the river drops off.

The reservoir currently sits at 133.1 metres, and BC Hydro says if current water flow rates continue to decline the total will drop to 131 metres around the end of October.

“By taking action now to reduce flows the level may be around 132 metres by that time. It gives us about one metre of extra storage,” said BC Hydro in a release Friday.

BC Hydro plans to reduce water flows to the river from the current 11 to 12 cubic metres per second to around eight to 8.5 metres per second on Sunday night into Monday.

The CVRD says it must automatically enter stage three water restrictions whenever water flow to the puntledge river is reduced below 11.3 cubic metres per second.

“In order to keep a minimum flow down the river as we head into the fall, we need to do our part to reduce our impact as much as we can,” said Mike Herschmiller, CVRD manager of water services.

“Thank you to the Comox Valley community for their conservation efforts to ensure there is enough water available for habitat, domestic needs and fire protection.”

Record lows

BC Hydro says the Comox Lake Reservoir saw its lowest water inflows for the month of August in its 60 years of records.

The electricity provider hopes that by reducing flows now, water levels should be OK until November.

The move comes as officials release more water into the Cowichan River from Lake Cowichan because of drought.

The province has authorized Catalyst Crofton to increase water flows from the Cowichan Lake Weir to protect water flows along the fish-bearing river.

The District of Tofino also recently asked residents to increase their water conservation efforts or else the community may need to move to stage four water restrictions.

The municipality asked businesses to install porta-potties and to use bottled water as measures to protect the water supply.

Adam ChanAdam Chan

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