Nova Scotia

Winter could make drought conditions even worse in Shelburne

If the ground freezes before wells are refilled things in Shelburne County, N.S., could get desperate, says a hydrologist.

'That water won’t be available, or not easily available ... come winter'

It has been a brown summer in many parts of southern Nova Scotia as dry weather continues to rob the land of moisture. (Stephanie Blanchet/Radio-Canada)

A hydrologist in Nova Scotia's Shelburne County is warning that drought conditions could get worse if the area doesn't get some steady rain before winter. 

Louise Lindsay said if the ground freezes before wells have a chance to refill things could get desperate. 

"People are using things like their pools to flush their toilets, that water won't be available — or not easily available come winter," Lindsay told CBC's Information Morning.

Lindsay said many people's household wells have gone dry after this hot summer with little rain. 

"It's all people are talking about. The first thing people usually say is 'how's your well?'" 

'100- to 150-year record drought'

She said one man in town has a well that's been used by his family for 150 years.

"His grandparents owned the house, then his parents, now he and his family have been living in it for quite some time. This is the first year that well has ever gone dry. Looking at that information we're looking at a 100- to 150-year record drought down here," said Lindsay. 

People have been getting water from public washrooms, the fire department and using the showers at The Islands Provincial Park to wash up. 

Louise Lindsay's garden is feeling the lack of rain as many plants haven't received enough moisture to grow. (Louise Lindsay)

"If you don't have water just to manage a household, you're hauling a lot of water and that's a lot of work and it takes time. I wonder about the elderly folks who live out of town who have no water — how are they coping?"

Haven't had to mow since Canada Day

The Roseway River that flows into Shelburne Harbour is monitored by the Canadian Hydrographic Service. It's at its lowest levels to date, said Lindsay. The measurements go back to 1915.

This is what Louise Lindsay's garden looks like during a regular summer. (Louise Lindsay)

The dry weather has also dried out lawns, turning them into nothing more than a dead brown mess.

Lindsay said most summers, people in town have to mow their lawns twice a week. She said this year, some people haven't had to mow since Canada Day. 

With files from Information Morning