Dry conditions have people watching their wells in Yarmouth County
Officials using lessons from 2016 drought to prepare for potential repeat this year
Basile d'Entremont is keeping close watch on his well these days.
In the midst of a particularly dry summer and with memories of the 2016 drought that caused widespread water shortages in Nova Scotia's Yarmouth County, d'Entremont doesn't want to be caught unprepared. In the last week the water level in his well has dropped 15 centimetres to about 1.3 metres.
"I am not worried whatsoever about this amount of water," he said Wednesday after measuring the well at his West Pubnico, N.S., home.
"What worries me is how much it dropped in a week."
D'Entremont said without substantial rain soon, he will likely employ a setup similar to what he and many others in the Municipality of the District of Argyle used in 2016, using large plastic fish boxes to hold water for non-drinking purposes.
He's been in the community for 47 years and it's only in the last two d'Entremont said he's had to be concerned about his water.
"We never, ever before then had to use extra water to supply our house."
He's not alone in those concerns.
Paul d'Entremont, who operates Paul's Water Service, said it's not as dry right now as it was in 2016, but he is getting more calls lately from people who need water. He filled five wells on Wednesday.
"When it gets really dry, we go from morning to night doing this."
It was memories of 2016 and increasing talk of dropping wells in the last couple of weeks that prompted officials with the municipality to conduct an online poll of residents. The results showed about a third of the roughly 340 respondents said their wells were low, getting low or were without water.
"That's significant enough for us to take this very seriously," said Argyle CAO Alain Muise.
Muise said lessons learned from 2016 include the various ways to get potable and non-potable water, including some they'd not thought of before.
"Our schools and our community halls and our fire departments have been instrumental and were instrumental in 2016 in establishing the water sources."
They were also instrumental in establishing a volunteer network that allowed for water to be accessed and delivered, and for sites to be kept open so people could shower or get a jug of drinkable water.
"That can happen much quicker than it did in 2016," said Muise. "Certainly that was a lesson we learned."
While 2016 was certainly a bigger problem than what's happening right now, Muise said it's cause enough to keep close watch on things and start planning so they can be ready if dry conditions continue.
In the meantime, everyone in the community is hoping for rain.
With files from Olivier Lefebvre