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State of Local Emergency Declared in Sunshine Coast Regional District

Full interview with Remko Rosenboom of the SCRD

A State of local emergency has been declared due to drought on the Sunshine Coast.

That applies to those across the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD), the District of Sechelt, and Shishalh First Nation.

The SCRD says they have secured water supply through early November, but the state of emergency should expand water supply should there be no significant rainfall in the coming weeks.

“We have unfortunately been left with no choice but to order non-essential large commercial users to cease their use of drinking water,” says SCRD Board Chair Darnelda Siegers. “At this time, we must prioritize our water supply for essential use by residents, the Sechelt Hospital and fire protection.”

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The declaration affects usage of water in non-essential commercial capacities like breweries, bottled water production, non-medical cannabis production, swimming pools, or businesses that work with various types of cement.

The order goes into effect at 11:59 pm on Tuesday, October 18th. The regional district says that any businesses that fit any of those criteria must cease the use of potable water from the Chapman Water System at that time. The SCRD will reach out to any businesses that the order affects.

The SCRD’s General Manager of Infrastructure Services, Remko Rosenboom says this is not the time to panic.

“I would encourage residents to not panic,” says Rosenboom. “The state of emergency has been declared to allow us to restrict the usage […] it is in place to make sure that we don’t get to a state where we have to panic. We have a water supply guaranteed, and we are putting several projects in place to extend that.”

Currently, the regional district is waiting for permission from Provincial and Federal ministries to reduce the amount of water reserved for environmental flow needs. That would allow them to extend the water supply as they release 1.7 times more water for environmental sustainability than is used for human consumption – under a provincial permit.

A further update is expected on Tuesday.

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