Cumberland’s water supply level is currently fine, but the village has decided to play it safe.
At a meeting on July 26, council agreed to bring in stage two watering restrictions to help reduce demand during what has already been a hot, dry summer.
Manager of operations Rob Crisfield brought forward a recommendation to increase restrictions, though the village, which has a water supply separate from the other Comox Valley communities, has close to expected reservoir levels and its system is performing well.
“We’re fairly normal for this time of year,” he said. “With the extended period of heat, and being a bit proactive, we think it’s probably wise to move to stage two water restrictions at this time, just out of precaution.”
The recommendation was to bring in the next stage because little precipitation is expected in the area for the near future. This followed a provincial environment ministry announcement from July 9 that the east side of Vancouver Island was at drought level four out of a maximum level of five.
For Cumberland, stage two means the village will revoke all new lawn seed and sod watering permits and reduce lawn watering with sprinklers from two days a week at set times down to one day a week at set times. All other garden watering, car washing and permitted uses will remain at stage one.
The village will now be advertising the changes for residents. As well, staff are to contact new lawn permit holders.
The staff report notes that since the village brought in stage two and three restrictions in 2015, it can reduce hours at the Village Park spray park, which is one of the largest uses of public water. This will not be implemented yet, but the park hours could be reduced through the summer if water levels drop significantly.
Members of council agreed with the recommendation and passed a motion to move to stage two restrictions in early August.
“I think it’s time, and I’d rather be cautious than run into a problem,” Mayor Leslie Baird said.
The Comox Valley Regional District also went to stage two restrictions as of July 23. Under the restrictions, watering days are Tuesdays and Saturdays for even-numbered addresses from 6-8 a.m. and 8-10 p.m., and Wednesdays and Sundays for odd-numbered addresses at the same times. The moves affects the Town of Comox, City of Courtenay and the Comox Valley Water Local Service Area.