Nova Scotia drought unusual, catches people unprepared
'People aren't as familiar with managing through drought situations'
The severe drought affecting parts of Nova Scotia may be causing more trouble than it would elsewhere in Canada because Nova Scotians aren't used to drought conditions.
For more than a month now, people in the southwest have reported dry wells and throughout the province, rivers and lakes are low. Local governments have offered drinking water and places to bathe while ecologists are worried about fish and other species.
- Environment Canada says Nova Scotia dry spell not 'a one-off'
- How some people are coping with the drought in southwestern Nova Scotia
The severe drought, as it's classified, is unusual in this part of Canada said agriclimate specialist Trevor Hadwen. He said generally these types of dry conditions happen a lot more frequently and more severely in other parts of the country.
'They prepare for it'
Hadwen leads the Canadian Drought Monitor, Agriculture Canada's contribution to a continent wide tracking program of drought conditions.
Right now, his program is watching Nova Scotia's struggles carefully. It's one of three provinces experiencing a drought, the others are Ontario and British Columbia, he said.
"Typically in the prairie region, farmers and residents in rural areas are used to dealing with these circumstances, so they prepare for it," Hadwen said.
"In situations where we have drought in Atlantic Canada, there aren't the same systems in place and people aren't as familiar with managing through drought situations, so the impacts can be fairly severe."
Yarmouth County for instance, experienced its driest summer since 1880, said CBC meteorologist Kalin Mitchell.
The low water levels even forced some homeowners to dig deeper wells.
"It's a rare situation for sure," he said.
Help drought response
Hadwen encourages farmers and homeowners to contact Drought Watch to report the impacts of drought. The program collects reports from people all across Canada, but historically, have collected few reports from Nova Scotia.
"To know the actual impacts on the ground and how that is affecting the producers or people is extremely important for us, in terms of putting together programs and responses to that drought," Hadwen said.