A Charlottetown-area watershed group says it's concerned by the lack of rain on Prince Edward Island this summer, and it's offering tips to help people conserve water in the weeks ahead. 

Sarah Wheatley, watershed coordinator with Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association, said that it is usual for some springs and streams to dry up around this time of year. 

She said the Winter River-Tracadie Bay watershed is unique because it supplies Charlottetown with its water.

Branch of Winter River dried up

Sarah Wheatley says that it is usual for springs that feed the Winter River to dry up. This picture, taken in 2015, shows what happens to the Winter River when that occurs. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

"We notice the seasonal differences in rainfall a lot more than other watershed groups would."

"Later in the summer, if it's a dry summer, that's when we really start to notice the impact," she said. 

'A mixed blessing'

Wheatley said that when long periods of dry weather are interspersed with heavy rainfall, erosion is a major concern.

"The heavy rain it's kind of a mixed blessing," she said.

'Everybody can have an impact on water issues' - Sarah Wheatley

"We do need rain, but when it comes all at once and so heavy then you do get a lot of erosion and you'll get soil and whatever is in that soil being carried into streams."

She said that consistent rainfall without heavy downpours would be the best thing for the health of Island waterways.

"That would be the ideal, if I could control the weather."

Water-use makeover

Wheatley said that water extraction data from the city of Charlottetown shows that when water levels are at their lowest, consumption is at its highest.

'Water quality is an issue as well... disposing of materials properly and not putting them down the drain or making sure your septic system is working properly.' - Sarah Wheatley

"In the dry weather people start watering their lawns, or washing their cars more frequently because the rain's not washing the dirt off," said Wheatley.

She said the watershed group is working on an initiative to have residents reduce their water usage.

The water-use makeover program will send someone to assess water usage in a home, find areas of improvement, and with grant funding, can offer discounted rates on upgrades like low-flow toilets.

'Everybody can have an impact'

Wheatley said that there is more than one way to try and improve the health of Island waterways.

"Everybody can have an impact on water issues," she said. Noting that reducing water usage will help maintain levels for animals and plants. 

water tap

Charlottetown water extraction data shows that water usage is highest when water levels are at their lowest. (CBC)

"Water quality is an issue as well... disposing of materials properly and not putting them down the drain or making sure your septic system is working properly."

"All those things can make a difference."

With files from Noah Richardson