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Sunshine Coast banning outdoor water use amid drought


The Sunshine Coast Regional District is banning all outdoor use of potable water starting Friday in an effort to conserve supply.

Stage 4 water restrictions will apply to residents of the district whose supply comes from the Chapman Water System, which includes those in Sechelt, Halfmoon Bay and Roberts Creek.

"Our water supply is at risk due to prolonged dry weather," a notice form the district says.

"Under these drought conditions, water use priorities focus on water for human health, firefighting and minimum creek flow requirements."

Among the activities banned under these restrictions are watering plants and flowers with a hose and washing vehicles or boats. Bans on lawn watering, filling private pools or hot tubs and washing sidewalks, driveways and fences were already prohibited.

In addition, all businesses and residents are being urged have a "water reduction strategy" to limit indoor use as much as possible.

During Stage 4 restrictions, the district says fines of $500 can be issued without warning to anyone caught violating the rules.


The Sunshine Coast Conservation Association has been monitoring water levels at the Chapman Creek watershed, where 90 per cent of Sunshine Coast residents get their water supply.

On Wednesday, Evan Lee-Dodek and Sofia Carroll, environmental project coordinators with the SCCA, went to Tetrahedron Provincial Park to look at the watershed and were startled by what they saw.

“We saw extremely low water levels. The lake is at 14 per cent capacity right now,” Lee-Dodek said. “We went there earlier in the summer, in June, and the contrast between then and yesterday was so drastic and it's definitely a cause for concern in the community—how little water we have left.”

The pair did not anticipate seeing the drastic change.

They wore waterproof shoes and were anticipating more flowing water.

“We got up there and it was very dry and we could move around the lake with ease and there was just a very, very low level of water,” Carroll explained.

They captured drone footage of the watershed to spread awareness of how dire the drought situation is.

They encourage people to take steps to conserve water, such as taking shorter showers and being cognizant of water usage in the home.

They’re also asking people to track their water usage by signing up through the Sunshine Coast Regional District’s website for a chance to win prizes.

“This will just give people an idea of how much water they're actually using, and may incentivize people to use less water,” Lee-Dodek said.

“The water levels will most likely keep dropping throughout the fall. We're gonna get a few more weeks of low levels of rain and no rain, and we're going to keep using water. So it's important to understand that,” Carroll said.


Last year, the district declared a state of emergency due to drought and ordered swimming pools, breweries, non-medical cannabis producers, businesses that bottle water, and those that transport and install concrete, cement and gravel to halt the use of potable water.

This year, a well and siphons have been installed to increase the water supply.

Leonard Lee, chair of the regional district, said they are introducing Stage 4 restrictions now to prevent a repeat of last year.

“We're hoping to avoid having to enter into a state of local emergency, which is actually the last resort, because you never want to get to where you do not have sufficient water for your hospitals and for your firefighting and for basic use in the home,” Lee said.

New restrictions in the district come as drought conditions persist across the province, fuelling record-breaking wildfires and prompting a dire warning from provincial officials. 

Eighty per cent of the province's watersheds are at drought level four or five. This means that "adverse impacts on both communities and ecosystems" are likely or almost certain, according to the province's ranking system. Top Stories

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