ARGYLE, N.S. – Emergency preparedness people and municipal officials continue to keep an eye on the dry spell, hoping it won’t end up as severe as the drought of 2016.
Janine Muise, the Municipality of Argyle’s EMO co-ordinator, was on her way to an Aug. 10 meeting in her area to discuss the situation when she offered a few thoughts.
About a third of respondents to an Argyle EMO Facebook poll on the issue had indicated they were concerned about the dry conditions.
“It’s something that wasn’t on our radar a few years ago ... a drought in southwest Nova Scotia, but it seems to be a sign of the times,” Muise said, adding that what happened two years ago was a learning experience.
“We already have a list of our resources that we used in 2016, so we’re a little ahead of the game this time,” she said. “Hopefully it’ll rain, but it’s not looking too (promising) right now.”
A meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada said it looked like there could be some precipitation Monday and Tuesday of this week.
“Right now, it looks like around 20 to 25 millimetres, but there are other models indicating the precipitation may go south of us,” Jill Maepea said last Friday. “Right now, that’s the only thing that is in our future for the next, I want to say, seven to eight days for the Yarmouth area.”
Based in Fredericton, Maepea noted that the Maritimes in general have been having a dry summer.
“I know it is widespread through the three Maritime provinces,” she said.
For Muise, an indicator of the dry conditions – aside from things like lawns that aren’t growing much – was evident when she drove by a laundromat in the Town of Yarmouth recently and saw how busy it was.
The Municipality of Argyle was one of the areas hardest hit by the drought of 2016.
The Municipality of Barrington was another. Barrington Warden Eddie Nickerson said the dry conditions were to be discussed at an Aug. 13 meeting of Barrington municipal council’s committee of the whole.
“We’re not hearing from a lot (of residents) right now,” he said, “but there’s certainly some concern.”
Monday’s council session, he said, would be a chance to discuss “how we’re going to deal with it and how we’re going to proceed.”
He acknowledged that the drought of two years ago was a big task for the municipality.
In another part of the tri-county region, Digby Warden Jimmy MacAlpine said he hadn’t heard anything from people in his area about the dry spell.
“I know we didn’t have the problems like Argyle (and Barrington) had two years ago, either,” he said.
Back in Argyle, meanwhile, Muise said the municipality’s top priority is making sure people have access to drinking water, Doucette said.
“That’s our main concern, healthy drinking water,” she said. “In 2016 that was one of our first tests, to make sure that we got drinking water out there. What people do to access non-potable water ... we can help there as much as possible, but one of the lessons we learned is that you can’t be everything to everybody.”
And as bad as the drought was two summers ago, she said things could have been worse. She cited a couple of areas that have been in the news a lot lately as examples of how dry conditions can set the stage for disaster.
“Look at British Columbia and California,” she said. “It’s dry and what are they experiencing? Forest fires. We were lucky in 2016 that we didn’t have anything major (like that).”