Still a long way to go to recover from this summer's drought 0
STAFF PHOTO Mayor Bob Sweet is imploring residents to conserve water during the current county-wide drought crisis. Last week, the town reinforced the Level 2 drought declared for the region by the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Despite pockets of rain throughout Renfrew County, the area is still in a drought situation.
This a warning from members of the County of Renfrew finance and administration committee, including Admaston/Bromley Mayor Raye-Anne Briscoe, who told the committee her municipality is still suffering the effects of lack of rain.
“In our area there are no reservoirs, the creeks are gone and we still have a fire ban,” she said.
She noted there are 16 weather stations across Renfrew County to monitor rainfall and they should all be considered when talking about the drought because of the difference she has seen even within her own municipality, with varying levels of rain between the township office on Stone Road and a monitoring station located on the Barr Line.
Due to the extreme urgency of the drought condition in Renfrew County, earlier this summer the Ministry of Natural Resources formed the Water Response Team to co-ordinate the county response to the situation. The team has been meeting weekly with representatives of all municipalities, CFB/ASU Petawawa, the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
The main function of the team is to communicate water conservation messages and information to the public and to document the social and economic hardship the drought is creating.
The finance and administration committee recommended to county council that the county fund the water response team’s communication plan related to the drought through the provision of unallocated funds in the 2012 budget to a maximum of $30,000. To date the water response team has spent about $4,500, chief administrative officer Jim Hutton told the committee.
Greater Madawaska Mayor Peter Emon echoed Mayor Briscoe’s sentiment, saying the drought conditions are still serious in his area as well.
While there has been a perception that the drought is a rural issue, it is also a problem for small urban communities including the town of Petawawa, said Renfrew County Warden Bob Sweet.
Because of the drought, Petawawa went from having a 1.5 day reservoir in its water towers to only six hours capacity, which would have meant no water in the tower if a break was to occur.
He added while the fire ban in the town has been lifted, people need to realize the situation is still a serious one and measures should be taken to conserve water whenever possible.
Tina Peplinskie is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist