Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island offers some stunning views of the Ocean, close to Pacific Rim National Park it's probably one of the most scenic places in the world. A place that many say they must visit before they die, just dont forget to bring your own water.
Tofino today, is in the midst of a Category Five Water emergency, closing businesses and sending residents into a bit of a panic as water levels reach dangerously low levels.
Among some of the drastic moves in place all tourist resorts must close down immediately until further notice and water is being trucked in from Uclulet 30 kms away and a traditional rival to Tofino. Of major concern of the district is the ability of Tofino to fight a major fire should some such incident happen during the emergency.
The News 1130 website had this update on the emergency.
Water shortage forces hotels in B.C. tourism town of Tofino to turn off taps
29, 2006 - 4:13 pm
By: KEVEN DREWS
TOFINO, B.C. (CP) -
Hotels, resorts and other commercial businesses in this Vancouver Island tourist town are being told to shut down because of an extreme water shortage, a situation the mayor is describing as one of panic.
Mayor John Fraser said water is so scarce there are concerns about whether there would be enough if there were a fire in the town. "That's why the panic's on," he said Tuesday afternoon. The District of Tofino issued an order to move to Level 5 regulations. The highest Level 6 means a complete shutoff of the taps.
"This is serious," said Leif Pederson, administrator for the District of Tofino.
"We're communicating with resorts, asking them to contact guests and advise them they possibly don't want to come out there right now.
"It's going to close all commercial activity in Tofino."
Pederson said the district is now looking at ways to truck in water, including from Ucluelet, about a 30-minute drive away.
He said fire trucks will be bringing in water to top up the Lovekin Reservoir, at the south end of the district.
"It will be going on constantly," he said.
Meanwhile, the town is getting its water from a secondary source, Ginnard Creek, and residents have been told to boil it as a precaution.
Municipal staff spent Tuesday morning calling local businesses, asking them to cut back or shut down.
Tofino is a remote tourist town just outside the breathtakingly beautiful Pacific Rim National Park. It is home to some world-renowned resorts, including the beach-front Wickaninnish Inn.
It borders on a UNESCO Biosphere and Clayoquot Sound and draws visitors for a variety of natural attractions from whale watching to surfing.
The public notice issued Tuesday was blunt, using capital letters to hammer home the severity of the problem.
"The WATER SHORTAGE has become extremely severe," it reads.
"All lodging, food service businesses are asked to shut down PRIOR TO FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1ST, 2006 until further notice. Other commercial water users must not consume any water whatsoever."
The notice said priority will be given to continued residential use.
The order, which will stay in effect at least until it rains significantly, affects hotels, restaurants, pubs, stores, and bed-and-breakfasts right near the end of the busy tourist season.
Pederson said the water shortage was caused by high demand and low supply, the result of low rainfall since July.
He said the district's main reservoir on Meares Island has been drawn down and not enough water is coming across the inlet to Tofino.
When asked how much water was left, Pedersen replied: "We don't know."
Coun. Derek Shaw said the district needs at least two days of rain before commercial activities can resume.
He said the district has been vulnerable for a long time because the last significant water-supply upgrade took place in 1991 and nothing has been done to add capacity since then.
Al Krukoff, general manager of the Tofino Consumers Co-op, said customers have all but wiped out the store's supply of bottled water.
"We had a run on it this morning," he said.
"There might be an odd bottle here or there. We're mostly cleared out."
Krukoff said the store contacted suppliers Tuesday morning and a semi-truck carrying 12 pallets full of bottled water should be arriving in the afternoon.
Whaylon Arthur, a Tofino resident, said municipal staff should have had more foresight and warned people this could be coming.
"It's a bit drastic and it's a bit panicky," he said.
But Pedersen said the district did its best.
Last week, the municipality implemented Level 4 water regulations, meaning residents were prohibited from washing boats and vehicles or watering lawns and gardens.
But things escalated more quickly than expected, he said.
Geoff Lyons, Ucluelet's administrator, said because fish-processing plants haven't been running full steam, his municipality has enough water to assist Tofino.