Kitimat and Kitamaat Village are not likely to implement water restrictions any time soon, despite growing fears of water shortages along the B.C. west coast down to the mainland.
The two councils have, however, issued public notices in the last week, appealing to residents to voluntarily minimize water usage, especially with regards to the watering of lawns and gardens.
“Due to dry conditions, elevated fire risks and low water source levels the District of Kitimat is being proactive and asking the community to assist with maintaining adequate water levels by practising water conservation measures,” said DoK spokesperson Mike Dewar.
“The district encourages residents with odd-numbered houses to water on odd-numbered calendar days and even-numbered houses to water on even-numbered days.”
He said Kitimat’s annual average daily consumption rate in summer historically is 6.4 million litres/day.
This year however the average was 10.5 million litres/day in July alone, with recent usage being as high as 17 million litres/day.
The increased water usage is putting additional pressure on the district’s water source, the Kitimat River, which Dewar said is relatively low.
“Currently an order is unlikely, but one could be issued if the local area experiences unprecedented drought conditions,” said Dewar. “While our water source is substantive enough to meet our community’s water needs, if there is a significant fire event in or around Kitimat, water resources could be diminished rapidly.”
The DoK has a sensor that measures the water depth above the pump intakes, located in the pump houses just south of the Haisla Bridge. Dewar said the district hasn’t issued a low water order within the last 20 years.
The Haisla Nation Council issued a notice encouraging residents to limit their water use, to preserve water pressure in the community.
“The water supply in the village is not a concern. What we are asking residents to do though is limit their water use to ensure there’s adequate water pressure in the community for any potential firefighting needs,” said HNC spokesman Cameron Orr.
Kitamaat Village draws water from two wells – Orr said the water levels in both wells are still good.
In July the provincial government issued a Level 3 hydrological drought rating for much of coastal B.C., from the Alaska border to the Lower Mainland, including the Skeena, Nass, and Stikine basins in the northwest, as well as Haida Gwaii.
Level 3 drought conditions typically call for municipal, agricultural and industrial users to voluntarily reduce surface and groundwater.
Terrace introduced water sprinkling restrictions recently, limiting the use of sprinklers to between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. on specific days in a bid to ensure adequate water supply for firefighting purposes.
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