Barrie residents are being urged to go easy on the taps as the heat wave puts stress on local water supplies, leading to concern of shortages should firefighters be required to swing into action.
The City of Barrie has issued a Voluntary Outdoor Water Use Restriction Level 1, asking residents to conserve outdoor water use as the city’s supply is straining with current demand, at least until supplies are replenished.
That may take a few days as the scorching temps and dry conditions that have broken records are expected to continue through the weekend. Environment Canada is calling for a high of 33 C for the Barrie region Friday, 33 again on Saturday, and 28 on Sunday. The forecast says there is a 30 percent chance of rain on Saturday, and by Monday the temperature is supposed to drop to more seasonal conditions, 24.
But by mid-week it’s supposed to be hot and sunny again, with 28 C forecast for Wednesday. The City hopes water levels stabilize by Monday.
There are three stages in the city’s water-control regulations – blue, yellow and red. Blue (Level 2) is for careful use of water, yellow (Level 1) is for limited use, and red (Level 2) is for restricted use.
The measures cover a variety of water uses, including watering lawns, washing cars, filling swimming pools and hot tubs, etc. Definitions, restrictions, permitted uses, etc., are covered in bylaw 2010-036.
The measures exist to cope with water usage during peak periods, usually between April and October, when usage rates can increase by as much as 60 percent. Additionally, restrictions are required because the Ministry of Environment limits the amount of water the City can draw from Kempenfelt Bay and local aquifers.
Beat The Heat
The City has released the following tips for coping during the current heat wave
• Keep Out off the Heat
Try to plan your day in a way that allows you to stay out of the heat. If you must be outdoors during hot weather, try to limit your activity to morning and evening.
• Stay in the Shade
If you must go out stay in the shade, wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and light, loose-fitting clothing. City parks offer plenty of shade and a good opportunity to escape the harmful effects of direct exposure to the sun.
• Stay Cool
Stay cool indoors, take cool showers often or wet your hands, face and the back of your neck. If you don’t have air conditioning, spend part of the day in an air-conditioned place such as a shopping mall, library, community centre, cinema, or facility operated by agencies that support people in need, such as the Salvation Army. As well, city beaches provide an excellent opportunity to cool off, but remember to guard against the effects of the sun.
• Drink Regularly
Drink plenty of water and natural fruit juices. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. If you will be outside for some time, drink plenty of water.
• Seek Advice if You Have Any Concerns
Get help from a friend, relative or doctor if you are worried about your health during a heat wave. Check regularly on family, friends or neighbours who are at higher risk of heat–related illnesses and who do not have air conditioning to see that they are all right.