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Aug 27 - Island drought prompts watering limits

What those beach-water warnings mean. Brewery patios for late summer. Hay fields go dry to save fish. Dolphin video.

Good morning !

Today brings news about water, from water use restrictions in the ongoing drought to swimming water warnings to the forecasted rainfall that may bring this parched region some much-needed relief.


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Today’s approx read time: 6 minutes

🌡️ Weather Forecast

Today: ☀️ 27 /13

Tomorrow: 🌦️ 23 / 15

Tuesday: 🌦️​​ 21 / 14

🌫️ Air quality: Low-moderate risk today (3-4/10) as smoke remains overhead but lightens relative to yesterday.

🚘️ Driving today? Check the current traffic situation via Google.


To protect fish from drought, some Island farm fields banned from watering

The past two weeks have brought new water-use restrictions to several parts of the Island as it—and much of BC—continues to endure a long-term drought this summer.

Currently 22 out of 34 major water basins in BC—including both east and west Vancouver Island—are at drought level 5, the highest level, which means adverse impacts on communities and ecosystems are “almost certain.”

This prompted fish protection orders for two Island rivers this past week. Thursday’s order for the Koksilah River watershed in Cowichan Valley is intended to restore water levels and protect steelhead trout. The order, signed by Forests Minister Bruce Ralston, states that the trout population’s survival in jeopardy and that precipitation will not arrive soon enough.

Restrictions affect crops that feed livestock

This order restricts 108 licence holders for the region who use the water for industrial purposes and for forage crops such as hay, alfalfa, and grazing corn—which are considered the most water-intensive crops. Watering of crops for humans can continue.

This order to protect the Koskilah and Upper Cowichan rivers came days after a similar order for the Tsolum River watershed near Courtenay, affecting 45 license holders.

Koskilah River Watershed location, via BC Drought Info Portal

If water levels return to normal, the order will be revoked, the province says. There are also programs for farmers who lose income.

A fishing ban on the Upper Cowichan River has also been extended until November due to hot water temperatures and low water levels, causing algal blooms that have led to a higher mortality rate for fish.

Residential water use restrictions

This month parts of Mayne Island were upgraded by the CRD to Stage 3 water restrictions, following a mid-July application of Stage 2 to all Southern Gulf Islands and Salt Spring. Salt Spring has been dealing with water shortages for years, which contribute to its housing shortages.

CRD residents remain under Stage 1 restrictions until Sept. 30, which limit lawn watering to certain days for any address that gets drinking water from the Sooke Lake Reservoir.

Last year’s extended drought had dire impacts on salmon runs, water for trees, and wildfire conditions.


What it means when bacteria tests cause warnings for local beach waters

Oak Bay has just rescinded a week-long warning about elevated levels of bacteria off Willows Beach. The warning, which advised against swimming, turned out to be based on Aug. 14 test results that found enterococcus bacteria at 60 times the minimum concentration that can be flagged for an advisory, and over 25 times the previous record-high.

But what exactly does it mean when local beaches have these bacteria warnings, and what conditions make it safe or unsafe to swim? To help explain, today we’ve brought in a Local Journalism Initiative piece that breaks the subject down.

⚠️ Capital Bulletin

Rain expected soon, with 40% chance tomorrow day and 60% chances tomorrow night and Tuesday.

Road work on Bay in Vic West tomorrow will limit traffic to westbound only.

Battle for top spot as Pacific FC tries to leap back above league #1 Cavalry FC in Calgary today.


A scaly solution to fast fashion

7 Leagues Leather founder Tasha Nathanson (pictured above showing off her products at a COAST Mixer) is passionate about sustainable fashion. She’s spearheading an innovative startup manufacturing wholesale fish leather, creating a product as tough as its animal counterpart. Listen as she shares her story on the COAST Talks Podcast.


6 of the best local brewery patios

Superflux {Cabana} / Instagram

There are still at least a few hot and sunny days in store this summer—today is projected to hit 27, and this week should remain above 20 even with the brief appearance of some (much-needed) rain.

Victoria is known for great craft beer, but a great patio to sip them on makes those beers even better. Tasting Victoria rounded up a few of the best spots, along with the signature brews and meals you can enjoy there.

And if a brewery isn’t your preference there’s also this mega-list of patios throughout the region, and these reader-voted picks for favourite patio.

⭐️ Capital Picks

🚒 Ever wonder how firefighters test their hoses? Watch the process here as Victoria crews inspect 8km+ of equipment.

😥Struggling with stress and anxiety? It’s time for a new approach. Tall Tree’s virtual 6-week Mindfulness Series will teach you tools and strategies to improve mental wellness.*

🍩 7 of our favourite summer dishes, from Earl Grey donuts to fancy tater tots. [Tasting Victoria]

🤝 Now hiring: North Jubilee Neighbourhood Coordinator at North Jubilee Neighbourhood Association.

*Sponsored Listing

🗞️ In Other News

More $575 cigarette-tossing fines: A driver in Victoria was just ticketed under the Wildfire Act, following one in Saanich the day before.

Several South Island fires this past week, including one in Thetis park and two on Salt Spring. The Kings Road supportive housing units were slightly damaged on Monday, and on Friday firefighters rescued a kitten from a house fire on Malview believed to have started from old batteries and cell phones.

Indigenous midden damaged on Hornby during ferry terminal construction. BC Ferries has called the protected heritage site’s disturbance a mistake. A large arbutus was also cut, and there was a confrontation between residents and crews. [Global]

Victoria man sentenced for robbery, machete attack: Christopher Standell, 53, who helped rob Paul Mara Jewellers on Fort five years ago, got three years and an additional year concurrent for his part in a machete attack three months earlier. [Times Colonist]

🗓️ Things to do

🎵 Anchors Away Arts and Music Festival: The festival hosted by CFB Esquimalt at Starlight Stadium today will include live music, drag performances, and kids activities.

🎙️ Harbour Blues n’ Roots Festival: Today’s free daytime concert at Ship Point will feature The Smokestacks, Melissa Endean, Beautiful Maladies, and Brett Smith-Daniels. The ticketed evening concert is headlined by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Allison Russell.

“A dark and devious comedy…her plot is a cunning labyrinth…” Kat Sandler's comedy, Yaga, starts September 12 at the Belfry Theatre. Learn more.*

🎙️ Great American Songbook Trio: Louise Rose, Joey Smith, and Kelby MacNayr play music from the Great American Songbook today. Doors 12pm, show 1-3pm.

🎨 Art class at RBCM: Learn how to make owl soft cut stamps today at the museum. 1-4pm.

💃 Taylor Swift themed experience: Dress up, sing, and enjoy a menu themed after the pop star today at 229 Gorge R. E.

🎭Fringe shows today:
Celexia, a play about humans’ relationship with words, at The Roxy, 1:45pm.
🎟️ Carpet: an absurdist dramatic comedy at The Roxy , 12pm.
💃 Chiaro: Scuro: physical theatre + dance. Today at Metro Studio, 5pm.
🎬 Innocence Astray: This performance explores what happens when you lose your innocence. Baumann Centre, 12:15pm.
👠 Fringe Cabaret: Nightly pop-up features Shelita Cox performing at Intrepid Theatre’s studio and lobby

*Sponsored Listing

👀 In Case You Missed It

Hwy 4 to reopen next week: Plus: The details on Blues ‘n Roots and other weekend events. [Sat. newsletter]

Flowers for safety: New floral street mural in Saanich also aims to foster safer driving. [Capital Daily]

Fake rideshare driver: A man attempted to pick up a woman waiting for an ordered ride near Capital Iron on Aug. 14, police said.

Friday’s headlines: Clipper says it will replace workers who strike, UVic gets $840K for grad scholarships, Upper Cowichan River fishing closure, and more. [Aug. 25]

Islanders paddle Canada to gold in world dragon boating championships. [Aug. 24]

That’s it!

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