Several small leaks were found in a 900-millimetre diameter pipe last December in the Comox Valley and they were discovered in one of the worst spots possible, right under the Puntledge River.

Now the pipe will have to be shut down during repairs and system’s original 35-centimetre pipe will be used to fill up the district’s six large reservoirs.

However, it won’t be able to keep up with normal water usage in the valley like the larger pipe. So beginning Friday, residents and some businesses will be faced with stage 4 water restrictions.

“It’s critical that the community uses as little water as possible during this period to ensure we still have water left over for the critical things like drinking and firefighting,” said Senior Manager of Water and Wastewater for the Regional District Kris La Rose.

Fire protection is a major concern and fires like the recent one in downtown Courtenay at the Cona Hostel or a large house fire can use over 10,000 litres of water in a short period of time.

The reservoirs need to be able to keep up so the hydrants don’t run dry.

“Having the actual risk of running out of water on a hydrant system is definitely something a fire department doesn’t want to have to factor into the emergency,” said Capt. Jonathan Welsh of the Courtenay Fire Department.

Stage 4 restrictions will be in effect Friday, April 12 to April 22.

Prohibited uses of water during this stage include the following:

-Watering lawns, gardens, plants and trees in any manner or by any means, including watering by hand;
-Filling or topping off or operating residential or commercial pools, hot tubs or ponds or fountains;
-Operating local government outdoor water parks and pools;
-Washing vehicles, boats or outdoor surfaces;
-Irrigating golf courses and other public and/or school district property

More information on Stage 4 restrictions can be found here.

Dean Stoltz