Just one more sleep until Mount Washington Alpine Resort opens for the winter season, but growing water shortage concerns mean staff are flushing out measures to conserve the current supply.
The resort, located near the Comox Valley, welcomes people back this Friday, Dec. 9, when skiers can hit the slopes from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Limited terrain will be available at first and come Dec. 16, hours will extend to 9 p.m.
A day before opening, 57 centimetres of snow sits at Hawk base, with 30 cm falling within the past 24 hours, according to an alpine report.
Although more snow is expected, water isn’t flowing like normal — prompting staff to implement measures to keep things afloat, like adding porta potties and turning off water refill stations to sell it by the bottle instead.
“The springs which produce Mount Washington’s potable water supply have slowed to record low production,” the resort said in a statement.
“Expecting an increase in visitors to the mountain as our winter season and the holidays approach, there are concerns about potential water shortages, and as such proactive measures are required by all members of the community and those visiting to conserve our current water supply.”
Vancouver Island is experiencing the worst drought levels in more than 15 years, with the Puntledge River flow and the Comox Lake reservoir level at record lows, according to the statement.
Campbell River reservoir storage, meanwhile, is at its lowest since 1984, BC Hydro said in a release late last month.
“Snowpack in the upper watershed is less than 25 percent of what is considered normal for this time of year,” the resort said. “With Mount Washington’s elevation at the top of the watershed, we are among the first to be affected by water shortages.”
Mount Washington is preparing for a backup water supply and a potential boil water advisory, which would affect its operations as well as people visiting and community residents, the statement reads.
Resort guests are asked to help too by taking shorter showers and avoiding baths and unnecessary toilet flushing. Taps should be off when brushing teeth and washing dishes, with washing machines and dishwashers only running when full or on eco mode.
More tips can be found here.