Friday, July 31, 2015

Vancouver struggling through historic drought

Vancouver, along with much of the province of British Columbia, is suffering a historic drought which has forced the local authorities to act to prevent local reservoirs from running dry before the end of the summer.

North Vancouver mayor Darrell Mussatto, who heads Metro Vancouver's utilities committee that oversees water resources, told Xinhua on Wednesday that the drought is very serious.

"Well I've lived in North Vancouver my entire life and I've never seen it as dry as it has been since May. It's never been this dry. I can't recall this, and indeed our records show we've never had a dry period like this at this time of the year," he said.

The region's three reservoirs in the North Shore Mountains are currently at 66 percent capacity and falling due to a prolonged lack of rain, he said, adding that these low levels typically aren't seen until late August or September.

For Metro Vancouver's 2.4 million residents to make it through the summer and into the fall without running out of fresh water, the authorities said the total daily usage must not exceed 1.2 billion liters of fresh water per day.

Each Canadian uses an average of 350 liters of water every day, according to a University of British Columbia study. The average European uses about 150 liters. Only Americans use more water than Canadians.

Metro Vancouver authorities are trying to curb usage by enacting Stage Three water restrictions, which ban any private lawn watering, car washing or refilling of pools. Stage Four restrictions could be the next step if the dry, hot weather continues, and if Vancouverites fail to restrict their water usage.

"Stage Four is not where we want to go. Stage Four basically means no watering anywhere, save for washing, cooking food and firefighting. So no-one gets any water. None of the agriculture gets any water, no-one gets any water for washing cars in the carwashes, all the fields are shut down. All of that water is basically conserved," said Mussatto.

He added that it would take more than 140 millimeters of rain to get the reservoirs back to normal levels, but the weather forecast over the next week predicts nothing but sunny, hot weather.

  Xinhua -

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