Levels on Nanaimo’s Jump Lake Reservoir are beginning to drop as the driest June on record draws to a close, but the city says water supplies are adequate to carry through another hot, dry summer. Photos submitted

Mid-Island tracking toward driest June on record

Predictions for rain this week could bring temporary relief

Any rain this week will bring an end to what has been Nanaimo’s driest June since precipitation started being recorded here in 1892.

As of Monday, Nanaimo received just 4.3 millimetres of rain, or about 10 per cent of the average rainfall for the month.

“Much of that came last Wednesday and that was the most rain we’ve seen in a month, going back to mid May,” said Matt MacDonald, Environment Canada meteorologist.

So far, the lack of rainfall isn’t threatening Nanaimo’s water supply, although the Jump Lake Reservoir – Nanaimo’s primary water reservoir – is starting to draw down, according to Bill Sims, Nanaimo’s director of engineering and public works.

“We haven’t had much rain and all and the snow melt is pretty much gone, which is not unusual, but we started with a fairly low snowpack … we just manage these assuming there’s going to be a drought, so we start storing [water] earlier than normal, or earlier than we would have in the past,” Sims said.

The reservoir is starting to draw down a bit early, but Sims is predicting Nanaimo has ample water stores to last into fall. That’s partly due to Nanaimo’s water collection system, which is large and robust compared to those of some coastal B.C. communities that rely on smaller water collection areas and wells.

“We were blessed 50-odd years ago with the Greater Nanaimo Water District and, so that was a separate entity and they really thought in the long-term and so that’s put us in really good shape for today,” Sims said.

The other reason he expects Nanaimo will be fine through what will likely be another hot, dry summer, is that residents continue to be highly conservative with their water consumption. He estimates there are about 25,000 more people living in Nanaimo than there were in the 1990s, but water consumption remains at 1990s levels.

“That’s really helping to keep us in good shape … that’s a really good, positive message out of all of that,” Sims said.

There is hope for at least a temporary reprieve from current conditions. If Environment Canada’s weather forecast is right, Nanaimo could receive 15-25mm of rain Thursday and Friday, June 27-28, which would dash the dry spell and the potential for a record.

“Thursday and Friday this week look pretty wet, actually,” MacDonald said. “We going to see a healthy system come across the south coast … that’ll be a good boost, but still below normal.”

MacDonald checked rainfall records for Nanaimo for the year and found January has been the only near-normal month for precipitation. February received 81 per cent of normal precipitation and March only received 18 per cent of its average.

“April was not bad. It was 93 per cent and that was kind of across the province we kind of saw some good reprieve in April, but then May, again we had 32 per cent,” MacDonald said. “We had 17mm compared to the normal of 54. So, it’s not just June that was dry. It’s been several consecutive months of drier than normal.”

This week it appears the weather is starting to show the normal ‘June-uary’ pattern with a stagnant low-pressure system forming over the coast, which will drop the most rain the Nanaimo region has seen since the beginning of April.

“There is a little bit of improvement on the way, but if you take into account the longer-term record, it’s a relatively small drop in a rather empty bucket,” MacDonald said.



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Improperly transporting a pet in the back of the truck can cost up to $368

Vancouver Island police recommend keeping all animals inside the passenger portion of the vehicle

Award-winning documentary shares the modern story of Vancouver Island First Nation

Broadcast premiere of Huu-ay-aht documentary Coming Home will take place Jan. 29

University of Victoria tells stories of Holocaust survivors with graphic novels

International storytelling initiative launched first meetings this winter

Vancouver Island artist’s mask heading to prestigious U.S. museum

John and Peggy Varnedoe purchased the piece and have donated it to the Burke Museum in Seattle.

Island astronomer discusses search for life in oceans of moons of Jupiter and Saturn

University of Victoria’s Jon Willis says where there’s salt water, there could be life

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Most Read