Drought reaches 1,000 families in southwestern Nova Scotia
The warm, dry summer of 2016 in Nova Scotia may be ideal for many, but for residents in the southwestern portion of the province, the last month has been challenging.
A lack of rain has left about 1,000 families without access to water after their wells dried up.
“It’s really inconvenient considering I have a six-month-old, so I have to boil water to bathe her,” said Brianna Page from her Shelburne, N.S. home.
“I can’t do laundry, I have to go to the laundromat and every day I come in and I pick up supplies,” said Donald Gosbee as he used a hose from the local fire station to fill up some containers of water.
Only about a quarter of Shelburne is on town water, which means even more residents could soon see their wells run dry.
“There are a number of people around in the area where their wells do go dry every summer, but … this year, the wells have gone dry earlier and there are more residents in a critical state,” said Mike Shand of the province’s Emergency Management Office.
“It’s bad. It’s really bad. Everyone is feeling the effects of it,” said Tracey Buchanan, who considers herself one of the fortunate ones. She has water but her neighbours do not.
“We’ve been very lucky, we’re up on a very good spring so it hasn’t affected us too bad, but the neighbourhood elsewhere has been affected.”
Bottled water is being trucked into Shelburne and other communities along the South Shore by both government and private businesses to help residents manage.
Provincial parks, schools and some search and rescue buildings are also being opened up to the public so they can use the washroom facilities.
More dry weather expected in the future
Zach Churchill, Nova Scotia’s municipal affairs minister, says half a foot of water is needed to bring the water tables up. At this point, there is no significant rainfall in the forecast.
Karen Mattatall, the mayor of Shelburne, says she believes the drought is a sign of future weather patterns.
“I absolutely hope that people recognize that is part of climate change and recognize as you say that not just in Shelburne but everywhere that water is not a renewable resource. When our drinking water is gone, it’s gone.”
David Phillips, an Environment Canada climatologist, says Canadians can expected to see more dry spells like the one we experienced this year, in the future.
At this point, officials say there is only one thing that can fix the water shortage: rain.
“Really that’s the only solution at this point. Until it rains the wells just aren’t going to come up,” said Shand.
Town of Windsor told to conserve water
On Thursday, some residents in the Town of Windsor, N.S., were notified they were being placed under a mandatory water conservation advisory after levels in the Mill Lake watershed area became lower than normal for this time of year.
People in that area have been told to eliminate lawn watering, car washing and decrease both long showers and unnecessary toilet flushing to help conserve water.
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