Conservationist says Winter River needs more rain

A second branch of the Winter River has run dry this summer and a watershed association points its finger at Charlottetown for using too much water.

Watershed group blames city for water use

The Brackley branch of the Winter River ran dry in mid-July, and the Cudmore branch was dry last week. (Denis Calnan/CBC)

The rain over the weekend brought good news to some Islanders, helping replenish the Winter River.

The river's Brackley branch ran dry in mid-July, followed by the Cudmore branch last week.

On Monday, some water flowed there again. The Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association said the water is coming off the land and not from the groundsprings, and that the water shortage is not over yet.

"We need quite a bit of rain. We don't want just enough rain to get the stream flowing; we want the water table built up so that the springs will start flowing with cooler water," said Bruce Smith, coordinator of the watershed association.

He said that cooler water is needed to support fish habitat.

Smith also said Charlottetown is taking too much water from the Winter River and that keeping it running will be a long-term project.

Bruce Smith says he hopes the people of Charlottetown will cutback on their water use. (CBC)

The city gets most of its water from the watershed and has a pumping station near the Cudmore branch of the river.

"It is a major change. The Cudmore and Brackley branches are the main two that would be feeding into Hardy's Pond," said Smith.

"We're hoping that the people from Charlottetown will try and cutback on the water that they're using because for every bit they don't use it means that there's less being extracted from Winter River."

Smith said it is frustrating to see the streams run dry. He also said fish habitat is being threatened.

"It would be a little less frustrating if you didn't drive through Charlottetown and see people watering their lawns. But it's an educational thing. We have to work with the people from Charlottetown," he said.