Rain delays stage two water restrictions

City of Abbotsford had been set to tighten water rules, but wet weather gives residents a reprieve.

Recent rainfall has allowed the City of Abbotsford to delay implementing Stage 2 water restrictions. The blue line shows the current Dickson Lake level.

Recent rainfall has allowed the City of Abbotsford to delay implementing Stage 2 water restrictions. The blue line shows the current Dickson Lake level.

Last week’s gloomy weather came with a bright side, as all the rain prompted the city to delay plans to move to the second stage of water restrictions.

A mostly hot and dry spring had the city on a trajectory similar to last year, when little rain prompted widespread restrictions and drew down the Dickson Lake reservoir at a rapid rate.

May’s average temperature was four degrees above normal, and staff had been prepared to recommend that council increase water restrictions. The restrictions would have reduced the number of watering days from two to one and forced non-recirculating fountains to be turned off.

But 87 millimetres of rain last week has helped recharge Dickson Lake to 94 per cent capacity and altered the plans, council heard.

Peter Sparanese, the city’s general manager for engineering and regional utilities, said staff monitor the lake on a daily basis. The rest of the summer is expected to be hot, with weather similar to last year.

But he said, “these restrictions will be entered into as required and only when needed.”

It was noted the city is far from running out of water, with the preliminary aim being to forestall the use of pumps, which increase costs for the municipalities. At that point, he noted the lake was still at 60 per cent of capacity.

“We have lots of water in the lake,” said Mayor Henry Braun.