COMOX VALLEY, B.C. – By tomorrow, users of the Comox Valley Water System will be under Stage 4  restrictions for the first time ever.

The emergency restrictions take effect at midnight tonight and will continue until Monday, April 22, while an emergency water pipe repair takes place.

The repair includes welding by a diver, who will access a section of the system’s largest transmission main, located under the Puntledge River.

Over the next 10 days, the system will be relying on a much smaller pipe to supply water to its users.

CVRD senior manager of water and wastewater Kris La Rose spoke about how the restrictions will impact Courtenay and Comox.

“During Stage 4, all use of water for any purpose other than drinking, food preparation, or personal hygiene is prohibited, whether you are a resident or a business,” La Rose said.

Leading up to the restrictions, La Rose advised residents to store containers full of rainwater or tap water, and use the water to help plants survive over the next week.

“During the restrictions, you could also save your bathwater or dishwater and use that outside on your plants,” he added.

La Rose stressed how important it is, for residents and businesses to adhere to the restrictions until April 22nd: “Without moving to Stage 4, there’s a real risk that water won’t be available for those essential services that we have. Top of the list would be firefighting. We really want to make sure that everybody complies and we can keep enough water in the tanks in case there is an emergency and to ensure that we all have enough water to do the very important things like drinking and cooking our food.”

If the repair is completed before April 22, the CVRD will call the Stage 4 restrictions off “as early as possible,” La Rose said.

Residents are encouraged to report infractions to City of Courtenay bylaw enforcement at 250-334-4441 or the CVRD and Town of Comox bylaw enforcement at 250-334-6006.

Prohibited uses of water during this stage include the following:

  • watering lawns, gardens, plants and trees in any manner or by any means, including watering by hand;
  • filling or topping off or operating residential or commercial pools, hot tubs or ponds or fountains;
  • operating local government outdoor water parks and pools;
  • washing vehicles, boats or outdoor surfaces; and
  • irrigating golf courses and other public and/or school district property.

Businesses that are concerned about potential impacts can call 250-334-6006 for more information, or to discuss strategies for managing water use during this time.