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Water emergency lifted in Tofino after power outage drains town reservoirs

Stage 4 water restrictions in place for much of Sunday after backup generators fail
The District of Tofino has activated Stage 4 Water Restrictions due to critical generator failures. (District of Tofino image)

Tofino’s water emergency ended last night as the district lifted its Stage 4 water restrictions when power returned around 7 p.m. on Sunday.

The district had announced Stage 4 water restrictions around 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning, urging residents to limit their water use as the town’s reservoirs are dropping rapidly.

“Urgent request to all community members to immediately reduce all unnecessary use of water to ensure adequate fire flow for emergency purposes. Currently, the District’s downtown reservoirs are dropping 2% every 30 minutes,” the announcement reads. “Please be advised that the District of Tofino has initiated Stage 4 water restrictions due to failure of two critical back-up generators. Stage 4 has been initiated in order to maintain fire flow for emergency purposes.”

Under Stage 4 restrictions, outdoor water use is prohibited and indoor water use is restricted to drinking and sanitation purposes.

The announcement adds that the district is currently working with BC Hydro to restore power to the community.

Tofino’s Emergency Operations Centre has been activated and a warming centre will be opened at the Community Hall at 351 Arnet Road at noon, though access to power will be limited to district staff use.

“The District of Tofino would like to thank the public for continuing to reduce all unnecessary use of water. Water levels are continuing to be reduced but at a slower rate than previously observed,” the latest announcement read at 10:30 a.m. “Please continue to reduce all unnecessary water usage to help maintain fire flow for emergency purposes.”

A district spokesperson told the Westerly News the first generator failed at 11 p.m. Saturday night and the second failed at 3:40 a.m. Sunday morning. A cause for the failures is currently being investigated but is not believed to be connected to the weekend’s snowstorm.

“District staff continue to work on repairs to both generators. The cost estimate is unknown at this time. Emergency Management BC has provided the District of Tofino with a task number. Any related and eligible expense associated with the emergency will be covered under this Provincial program,” they said.

They added that power is required to replenish the water in the reservoirs, so restrictions will remain in place until power is restored.

“The lifting of restrictions is dependant on when BC Hydro can restore power to Tofino, or when temporary repairs to the generators are completed. The District is monitoring the reservoirs and will inform the community as the situation progresses. The District continues to encourage the public to reduce all unnecessary water usage to help maintain fire flow for emergency purposes,” they said.

“The best way for residents to assist is to reduce all unnecessary water usage and share District updates through their networks. Please continue to follow District of Tofino website and social media for updates. If you haven’t signed up for Voyent Alert!, please sign up on our website at”

Andrew Bailey

About the Author: Andrew Bailey

I arrived at the Westerly News as a reporter and photographer in January 2012.
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