It was a rare sight this weekend to see Vancouver Islanders excited to see rain falling during the height of summer.
But compared to the precipitation normal for this year to date, the weekend’s rainfall was simply a drop in the bucket.
The extreme lack of precipitation in the late spring and early summer prompted pleas from city officials to conserve water and led to some of the most restrictive water-use requirements ever seen in the Regional District of Nanaimo.
After more than a dozen human-caused fires in Nanaimo alone, city officials pleaded with residents to refrain from activity that could spark a wildfire, such as tossing cigarette butts from moving vehicles or even cutting your lawn. The B.C. Forest Service tried to reduce the number of wildfires by banning campfires during the worst forest fire season in recent memory.
Although Islanders celebrated the drizzle on Saturday and Sunday, it doesn’t mean we can become complacent once again with our water use or our potential to cause forest fires. The forecast calls for a bit more rain and then it’s back to sunny and dry for the rest of the week.
Although the smoke has cleared and the temperature feels a little cooler, we should continue to butt out with a bottle of water rather than tossing cigarettes out the window.
Planting drought-tolerant vegetation rather than lawns will help conserve water now and into the future. Using efficient methods for watering or capturing water from showers, dishes and hot water taps will help make the Jump Lake reservoir last through the fall.
Hopefully it will rain again come the fall. But even if it all goes back to normal in a few months, our water systems will continue to face stress as more and more people move to the Nanaimo area.
Islanders had a hard lesson in water conservation this year – one that might not yet be over. Let’s not lose the good habits we developed during this year’s drought.