Following some drier weather recently, City of Nanaimo officials are advising residents to be cautious with water consumption as spring progresses.
Mike Squire, city water resources manager, said the Jump Creek reservoir is 91 per cent full currently, which is above average and trending upward. The snowpack is at about 2.4 metres, which is slightly below the median historical average, he said, and while there was a lot of snow in December, precipitation has been down in March.
He recommends people be conscious about water usage the coming weeks.
“Looking at the drying trends of March, we don’t know what’s going to happen in April, so we always caution them,” said Squire. “May is like a turn point. Usually after the May long weekend, that’s when people are out gardening and more active outdoors, etc., so that’s when our water use increases.”
The city is always watching for problems in terms of water levels. The city monitors fisheries operating zones, reservoir level and consumption.
“We’ll take a look at demand management and how we do that is basically through water conservation efforts,” said Squire. “It depends on what time of the year and where we are with the reservoir. It determines where we need to be with stage watering restrictions.”
Bobby Sekhon, meteorologist with Environment Canada, said it is difficult to forecast precipitation for the coming months, but there will some rain this week.
“Maybe later next week, Thursday, Friday, we could see a system bringing some moderate rainfall, but even that’s not looking particularly heavy or strong in that sense,” said Sekhon. “We’re gradually going to progress towards summer, which is the driest time of year here. In between, obviously we can get some rain systems, but they’re not as frequent as what you’d see over the fall and winter.”
The B.C. River Forecast Centre did not have anyone available for comment, but based on a March 1 snow survey and water bulletin, snow basin indices for Vancouver Island were 77 per cent of normal.