Loading articles...

Metro Vancouver snowpacks below average but no cause for concern, yet

Last Updated May 22, 2019 at 11:40 am PDT

FILE: Metro Vancouver water reservoir. (John Streit, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

A drought emergency was declared in parts of Washington state earlier this week

In B.C. our snowpack is lower than ideal but reservoirs are essentially full

Washington's snowpack is less than 50 per cent of the average for this time of year

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Washington’s governor declared a drought emergency Monday, covering almost half the state, so could that could be an indicator of things to come on this side of the border?

The governor’s declaration affects almost half the state but not Seattle, Everett or Tacoma. Meanwhile in B.C., our snowpack is lower than ideal, but reservoirs are essentially full. So is there cause for concern here?

“We’re in good shape,” says Marilyn Towill, Metro Vancouver’s director of operations and maintenance for water services. “We still do require people to follow our lawn watering and other regulations and really pay attention to how the use the water so that we’re kind of mindfully using that joint resource that we share and use through the summer.”

RELATED: Annual water restrictions kick in across Metro Vancouver

But Dave Campbell with the BC River Forecast Centre says how much rain we get going forward will determine a lot.

“I think the risks are definitely increased. Snow is one piece of it and certainly what we’re seeing right now is kind of combination of a little bit less snow to start with and then that snow has melted off pretty quickly so a lot of the low numbers are really reflecting that the melt has come down early,” Campbell adds. “That will put down pressure n the rivers later in the year but it really is influenced by what we get for rainfall over the next few months.”

Although Towill says we’re in good shape, she does note the snowpack is below average for this time of year. She says those conditions are similar to what people are seeing down in Washington State.

“We are experiencing similar snowpack levels but our water storage reservoirs are you know essentially full,” she adds.

Washington’s snowpack is less than 50 per cent of the average for this time of year but it’s largely rural areas at risk, according to its Department of Ecology which says the risk of hardship is quite low because of its storage capacity.