News Release - March 23, 2016

Region-Wide Watering Restrictions Framework

Last night, at the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) Regular Board Meeting, the Board approved a new framework for watering restrictions in RDN water service areas. The framework was developed in partnership with other water service providers in the region in an effort to create a unified structure for watering restriction stages region-wide. This is an important step towards improving implementation of watering restrictions, streamlining communications and increasing clarity for the public.

"There was a great deal of confusion last summer across the region because each area had different watering restrictions and each area was using different language to communicate those restrictions to the public," said RDN Board Chair Bill Veenhof. "This new framework will help make things more clear for water purveyors and for residents."

The framework will categorize watering restrictions into four stages. While the watering restriction stages will have a consistent definition across the region, it is at the discretion of the individual water service providers to select when a stage comes into effect in their area. This decision will be based on water source availability and levels of demand.

The intention of the framework is to provide a regulatory tool to curtail outdoor water use if supplies are under stress. By encouraging water use reductions early on and communicating them clearly, the expectation is that the higher restriction stages would rarely, if ever, need to be implemented.

The communication strategy for the new framework includes an interactive map-based website www.teamwatersmart.ca, as well as advertising and mailed information packages explaining the framework and how the public can find out what restrictions are in effect for their water system.

The following major water service areas have participated in developing the new Framework:

  • Deep Bay Improvement District
  • Bowser Waterworks
  • Qualicum Bay Horne Lake Waterworks
  • Town of Qualicum Beach
  • City of Parksville
  • RDN Water Service Areas (eight in total)
  • EPCOR French Creek
  • District of Lantzville
  • City of Nanaimo
  • Southwest Extension Waterworks District
  • North Cedar Improvement District
Private wells that are not part of a community water system are not subject to this watering restriction framework, but are encouraged to continue to voluntarily practice water efficiency.

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Julie Pisani
Drinking Water & Watershed Protection Program Coordinator
Regional District of Nanaimo