Saskatchewan

Heat warning in effect for Regina, dozens of cooling spaces available

A heat warning is in effect for Regina, and things are expected to get extreme Friday at a projected 36 degrees Celsius. This has both city residents and farmers worried. 

Temperatures expected to reach 36 degrees Celsius Friday.

Regina is under a heat warning as a prolonged heat wave begins. (Neil Cochrane/CBC)

A heat warning is in effect for Regina, and things are expected to get extreme Friday at a projected 36 degrees Celsius. 

This has both city residents and farmers worried. 

The City of Regina has prepared for the heat by teaming up with community organizations and providing a list of over two dozen cooling spaces across the city. 

Kelly Husack, policy analyst with the City of Regina, says the heat is concerning. 

"It definitely can put some of our residents that are may be not always vulnerable and more vulnerable in precarious situations. Just with the extended heat, particularly when we don't get the reprieve overnight," said Husack. 

Cooling stations are available as long as there is a heat warning in effect. 

"The intention is, as long as we're in an extended or prolonged period of extreme heat, we'll want to continue to be able to support residents however we can, responding to those elevated moments of risk in the community. So as long as the temperatures stay up, we'll be continuing to work to ensure people are adequately supported."

In addition to community organizations like John Howard Society and Carmichael Outreach, the city is also providing water bottles at Fire and Protective Services stations across Regina. 

If fire fighters are away responding to a site, water will still be available in a tote just outside of the facility, said Husack.

"[Service members] will be available out in the community, checking in on folks when they can, as well as ensuring that there's water available."

City pools and spray pads will have water coolers and water refill stations available. But Husack warns that these places are expected to be busy, and for those worried about COVID-19 to assess the spaces for themselves.  

"If there is a spray pad in your community that you most often frequent, perhaps plan a backup location if you can. If you go there, it's quite crowded and you might not be as comfortable accessing it. Maybe try the second or third one."

Husak says the community based organizations on the city's cooling spaces list are always in need of bottled water, food or popsicle donations. 

Farmers experiencing drought-like conditions

Farmers are one of the groups most impacted by these prolonged heat waves. 

Farmers doubt anything more can grow as another prolonged heat wave begins. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Todd Lewis, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, says further water infrastructure like deeper wells and pipelines will be needed to safeguard against future droughts like this one. 

"Both the province and federal government will have to work together to bring some ag recovery money into the province for disaster times. This is certainly unfolding to be a disaster ... a lot of wells and dugouts are certainly dry or drying up."

Lewis says this is an expensive proposition, but calls it "long term water."

"It's not just for this year. That'll be there for next year and years and years after when there's drought. So I think it's a good investment, you know, by the province to our water infrastructure. And and, you know, I think we're going to need to see cooperation between both levels of governments going forward as this drought unfolds."

The current heat wave is not going to help already withering crops. 

"Going forward over the next 10 days, the way the forecast looks, it's going to be pretty hard to to grow anything. And lots of crops are shutting down and in many cases, it's already too late. They've died off. In certain parts of this province it's pretty bleak."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura is a reporter for CBC Saskatchewan. She is also the community reporter for CBC's virtual road trip series Land of Living Stories. Laura previously worked for CBC Vancouver. Some of her former work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, NYLON Magazine, VICE Canada and The Tyee. She holds a Master of Journalism degree from the University of British Columbia. Follow Laura on Twitter: @MeLaura. Send her news tips at laura.sciarpelletti@cbc.ca

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