In her Metchosin yard, June Reimer checks the water levels in her well.
She’s been meticulously tracking those levels for 32 years, with 2023 bringing some of the lowest levels she’s ever seen.
“I was out two weeks ago and it said there was only six feet of water in my well,” says Reimer.
“So I went back to my records, I was looking at the May/April 2021 calendar, and the end of May I had at least seven feet — and this was March that we’re talking about.”
Victoria has had a dry spring so far, with 34.2 millimetres of rain recorded at Victoria International Airport for the month of March. That’s 44 per cent of the normal precipitation for this time of year, and it’s a trend that seems to be persisting for months across Vancouver Island and around B.C.’s South Coast.
“All in all it’s an extremely dry pattern that’s also been cool, so it’s a colder than normal pattern, but also much much drier,” says Environment and Climate Change Canada Warning Preparedness Meteorologist Armel Castellan.
“So that’s really the main story that’s kind of emerging from the numbers and it’s right across the board for all of the Interior as well.”
The Sooke Lake Reservoir, usually filled by mid-January, didn’t reach its full storage volume until last month. It’s been a situation that has been building over the fall and winter months.
“Generally we need a fairly active Pacific ocean with lots of storms barreling to the coast and that just simply kind of dried up and we weren’t getting those frontal systems, the low pressure kind of dominated weather,” says Castellan.
The unusually calm weather has residents who rely on well water like Reimer worried, with summer not that far away.
“It’s really something that has to be considered a big problem and this is Greater Victoria, this is Metchosin, I’m not even two kilometres from the municipal hall,” says Reimer.
There could soon be some welcome relief ahead though. Rain is in the forecast for later this week, with Environment Canada calling for a slim chance of showers Tuesday with more certain periods of rainfall beginning overnight Wednesday.