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With yesterday’s water usage figure of 402,000 gallons, this brings our 3-day running total to 1,346,000 gallons.  Another record for us (compare to the 3-day totals in the table below, all well under 1,300,000 gallons).

In the summer of 2006 – the year our town was abruptly closed to tourists at the beginning of the biggest tourism weekend of the year – our daily usage never even reached 500,000 gallons… not until August 28th and 29th.  The high usage those two days was what precipitated the shut-down.  Now, here we are, late August again, with water usage soaring to those same levels…  why is it me reaching out to distribute this information, and not our district?  Please pass the word out:  we are still at risk, please continue water conservation efforts.


Tofino’s daily water usage for yesterday (measurement reported this morning) peaked out at a whopping 513,000 gallons – well above our target of <400,000 gallons. This brings our 3-day running total to 1,291,000 gallons.

Without any studies correlating water usage to weather, it is hard to know how much of this high consumption is due to the sunnier weather, and how much of it is due to people no longer working as hard to conserve.  I did note, however, during our 2006 water shortage that the very high-usage days correlated with the warmest and sunniest weather.  This year, also, our consumption was low through that long foggy stretch – and now that it is sunny it has come up again (see my table in the previous post below).

I’m not sure why our district isn’t getting these latest figures out to the public in the form of a press release, reminding people to keep up conservation efforts.  Yesterday’s usage is 28% higher than our target of <400,000 gallons.  Please keep up your water conservation efforts!  We’re not off the hook yet – Labour Day is quickly approaching.

I’ve been keeping track of our daily water use, as posted on the District’s website.  Yesterday we were back to well over the 400,000 gal/day benchmark again.  Is it because people feel the crisis is over and are not working so hard to conserve?  Or is it just that the warm and sunny weather (following a few weeks of mostly fog) just naturally brings up usage: more showers by beach-goers, more rinsing wetuits and surfboards, more car-washing…?  We still don’t know the anwer to these questions, because the studies have never been done.

Anyway, here is a table with the whole last month’s water usage (straight from the weekly data the District posts on their website).  I have annotated it with a few comments about the weather. What happens with our usage over the next few days will start to give some idea of how much the weather influences our daily usage.

Also, I have created a column for the three-day total.  The reason that I have done that is that there may be fluctuations in any one-day usage figure based upon exactly when and how reservoirs were filled, e.g. less filled one day means they have to put in more the next day.  The 3-day running total averages out for any such fluctuations, and is a much better indicater of what we are really using than any single one-day figure.

Yesterday’s usage of 431,000 gallons was the highest recorded in three weeks.  It will be interesting to see, over the coming few days, if the consumption stays that high.

Tofino daily and 3-day water usage, in gallons, for summer 2009

Tofino daily and 3-day water usage, in gallons, for summer 2009

By Ava Barany, Raincoast Education Society

Western toad

Western toad

What’s small and bumpy and hops in the dark?  You guessed it, the Western Toad.  These amphibians have dry, bumpy skin and range in colour from green to gray to brown.    They have a distinctive yellow stripe down their back and horizontal pupils.  The ‘warts’ found on their skin are not warts at all, but glands that produce a Read the rest of this entry »

I am really getting frustrated: because of  the complexity of our water rate charging system, few people actually understand how it works. As you all may have noticed, I have put a lot of time into figuring it out and trying to relay that information – to the community in general, as well as to the people who make decisions on our behalf.

Graphically, it is very simple: whichever user’s line is the highest is the one who is paying most. If the tables and complicated examples of this and that are too much to deal with, just look at the graph.  That is why I bothered to graph it out (it is pasted again at the bottom of this post).  Whichever user’s line is the highest is the one who is paying most.

There is an article in the most recent Westerly which provides more complicated, and in places misleading, information and calculations from our district.  There is no point in calculating examples of what people would pay if the examples used are not very realistic Read the rest of this entry »

Councillor Dorothy Baert was the lone dissenting voice in saying that we should open this for public discussion.

But the remaining councillors approved the new proposed rates without even reviewing them. So, residents continue paying the highest rate per volume, and the biggest businesses (large resorts and fish processing plants) pay the lowest rates.

The exact motion put forward by our financial officer Edward Henley was:

THAT COUNCIL consider the proposed changes to the utility rates and recommend modifications to either the proposed rates or the water and sewer budget to achieve a balanced water and sewer budget.

However, instead of “considering the proposed changes and… recommending modifications” as Henley proposed, our council simply approved the Table of Rates as is.  Read the rest of this entry »

Tourists make up about 90% of our daily summer-time population.  While Tofino’s CAO keeps pushing residents to continue to drop our water consumption – what (if anything) are visitors being told?

Over the last two weeks at the Tofino Market, I did a very informal poll of tourists who came by my table, asking them what they have heard about our water situation. And the results are disturbing: while some accommodation-providers are passing along very accurate and detailed information, it seems that many of them are passing on either misleading info, or nothing at all Read the rest of this entry »

NOTE: there is a council meeting to discuss rates this Tuesday August 4th, 9 am – please show up or write to them if this matters to you.

I have graphed out the new proposed water rates so we can actually see how they compare.  No big changes coming – residents still pay more at the same volume of usage. The big hotels and the processing plants still get the cheapest rates – both at high and low volume of usage.  Of the high-volume rates, the school and the hospital pay significantly more than the for-profit businesses!

As a trained scientist, I am well aware how people can use statistics to say things that are not exactly untrue, but that are misleading.  So I am going to use this graph to clarify some things that are commonly mis-stated.

Read the rest of this entry »

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