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B.C.’s drought level prompts City of Nanaimo to extend watering restrictions

City at Stage 2 restrictions until Oct. 31
Jump Creek reservoir. (News Bulletin file)

With the Province of B.C. classifying the east Vancouver Island basin at drought Level 4, the City of Nanaimo is extending watering restrictions till month’s end.

In a press release, the city said while it has enough water to “serve community needs and maintain environmental flow releases, such as the pulse release for returning chinook salmon,” it will continue Stage 2 water restrictions – even addresses watering on even number days and odd addresses on odd days – until Monday, Oct. 31, due to the warmer-than-usual weather and lack of rain.

In a separate release, the city said it is partnering with Nanaimo Forest Products to release water from the Fourth Lake and Jump Creek reservoirs to raise the level of Nanaimo River for the aforementioned chinook run.

Higher water levels may be observed at Nanaimo River for the next seven days, the city said, followed by a decrease and return to summer levels, with an exception for rainfall.

“Caution around increased water levels is advised for residents adjacent to the river and in-stream users such as boaters or fishers,” said the city. “The pulse release will be noticeable starting Wednesday, Oct. 5, and will taper off by [this] weekend.”

A partnership between Nanaimo Fish Hatchery and the two water licensees, in concert with Department of Fisheries and Oceans and provincial ministries, has existed for a number of years, noted the press release. The parties work together yearly “to co-ordinate an early fall flush of fresh, cool water to encourage Chinook salmon waiting in the Nanaimo River estuary to move upstream to begin spawning.”

“Nanaimo has excellent water and we are confident that with the co-operation of residents and businesses that we can continue to supply the community and meet our environmental needs,” said Bill Sims, the city’s general manager of engineering and public works, in a release.

The province ranks drought levels from 0-5, with 5 the most severe.

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