2015's severe water restrictions were a wake-up call, with multiple projects deferred or cancelled due to the lack of rain. What did we learn, and will 2016 be any better?
The first thing we learned was that the weather is unpredictable, and changes to the normal continue to accelerate. Already this year we've had the warmest April in 30 years, with multiple temperature records broken across the province.
The second thing we learned is that work can continue even in a water-restriction environment.
MetroVancouver controls the majority of the water supply in greater Vancouver. White Rock is a notable exception, having their own water supply management, but recent concerns with water-flow during fire-fighting of a downtown fire have them re-evaluating. There are four stages of restrictions.
Water restrictions at different stages:
- Stage 1 - Basic lawn watering restrictions of 3 days/week. Extended dates this year, now May 15 - October 15.
- Stage 2 - Lawn sprinkling 1 day/week. Amended this year to allow for aesthetic washing/cleaning work if done by a commercial cleaning service.
- Stage 3 - No watering except by hand. Continued exemption: "Commercial pressure washing to prepare a surface for painting, sealing, or similar treatment will be permitted." Aesthetic cleaning prohibited.
- Stage 4 - Emergency water use only. No form of watering allowed. Public pools closed, car washes shut down, industries consuming large amounts of water requested to voluntarily reduce use. "Commercial pressure washing of any outdoor surfaces will not be allowed..."
So even with Stage 3 enacted in 2015, work continued, albeit with our best efforts to conserve water. Some municipalities & agencies cancelled approved work to assist in conservation.
The third thing we learned is that good people are willing to conserve water, and many of them did, preventing Stage 4 restrictions last year.
What does 2016 look like?
Stages 1-3 continue to allow for project preparation of surfaces, regardless of restrictions. Stage 1 started early, and amendments are further planned for 2017.
The good news is the storage facilities, including Seymour, Capilano & Coquitlam Lake, are full compared to prior years. As of mid-May, they were at 97% of their maximum storage. And snow packs are closer to average, and above 2015 levels. And MetroVancouver has requested additional water supply options from BC Hydro for 2016.
The bad news is that 2015 levels fell precipitously through June, and caused the concerns July & August.
Predictions are for fools, but the weather folks suggest the spring season to remain unseasonably warm, and summer to be warmer than normal as well, with some hope that it will not be as excessively hot and drought-like as the past summer.
If you've got a painting or restoration project that you are considering for 2016, now's the time to book it. We can schedule the work, consider what sequence is best, and give specific attention to washing, while current water restrictions are in place.
Don't let the water shortage leave you high and dry. Contact us now!