BC’s Sunshine Coast lifts drought emergency

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dated: 2022-11-20 02:30:10 .

In response to the drought on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, a local state of emergency has been lifted and water flow is being restored to the main water source.

A statement from the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD), Sechelt District and the Shíshálh Nation said watershed levels have risen slightly due to snowmelt with warmer than expected temperatures.

Regional County Board Chairman Leonard Lee says staff have been working hard to ensure residents have access to water during the 100-day summer drought and unprecedented transition to freezing temperatures.

The statement said Level 4 water protection regulations remain in place, meaning the water cannot be used for purposes such as watering lawns and sports fields, washing vehicles or filling hot tubs.

It said rain is in the forecast next week and staff will monitor its impact on Chapman Divide recharge to see if those restrictions can be lifted.

A state of emergency was declared last month when the water supply, which supplies 90 percent of homes and businesses in the Sechelt region, dried up due to drought.

Until the ground in the watershed is completely filled, the press release states that there is a risk that a prolonged period of cold and dry weather could threaten water supplies.

Chapman Lake (left) and the Chapman Lake Canal on BC’s Sunshine Coast are shown on November 17th. After a prolonged summer drought, the Sunshine Coast experienced a rapid transition to cold temperatures in November. (Area unit Sunny Coast)

Chief of the Shíshálh Nation Warren Paull said the past few months have highlighted the impact of climate change on the region’s land and water supplies.

“In the future, there must be a collaborative approach with all levels of government involved to ensure water supply in the region,” he said.

The Sechelt area, about 70 kilometers north of Vancouver, saw only traces of rain between July and mid-October, a period that normally sees 200 millimeters or more.

“Over the past four months, our community has stepped up efforts to conserve water during this unprecedented drought,” said Sechelt County Mayor John Henderson.

“The fact is we need regular rain for several weeks to recharge our existing system.”

Remko Rosenboom, director of the Emergency Operations Center, said the rain, which finally began in late October, was almost immediately followed by freezing temperatures at higher elevations, preventing reservoirs from refilling.

SCRD staff will monitor the rain that falls over the coming weeks and its impact on Chapman Divide to see if Level 4 restrictions can be lifted.

Earlier this week, county regional director Donna McMahon said the emergency response center warned restrictions could be in place until next spring.

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BC’s Sunshine Coast lifts drought emergency

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Source https://canadatoday.news/ca/bcs-sunshine-coast-lifts-state-of-emergency-caused-by-drought-154923/

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