Residents in King Edward Bay and Bluewater Park will have to wait for this weekend’s forecasted rain to save their gardens from drought.
On August 21, the Bowen Island Municipality issued water restrictions for the two neighbourhoods after sensors indicated the wells were running low.
King Edward Bay gets its water from two wells; Bluewater has four. Bob Robinson, BIM’s superintendent of public works, says all six are being used and contribute to the water systems, which are now a municipal responsibility.
The water restrictions mean property owners are not allowed to use garden hoses, irrigation systems or sprinklers. They can’t even hand water their plants with watering cans.
It also means their vehicles and boats have to remain dirty since people are not allowed to wash their driveways, sidewalks, vehicles, boats or other equipment.
Adam Holbrook, chair of Bluewater Park’s water advisory committee, says most people who live on the island are very much aware of the threat posed by the wells going dry and are following conservation practices.
People who live in places that don’t rely on wells might not realize how much their neighbours rely on them to respect the water use restrictions. Regardless of how much water you are allowed every month before fines are imposed, it’s important to use as little water as possible.
“We depend on everyone’s community spirit to ensure water is used wisely and only as necessary,” he says. “A lot of visitors come from cities where they don’t have to worry about where water comes from.”
Bowfest weekend and Labour Day weekend often put the heaviest demands on the wells.
The municipality doesn’t know how long the restrictions will be in place and will monitor the situation daily. “When well production increases to sustainable levels, water restrictions will be lifted,” a press release says.
To report unauthorized water use, people are asked to phone BIM’s bylaw services at 604-328-5499. The municipality has tips on how to reduce water at BIMBC.ca.