The Sunshine Coast is a bustling summer destination, thanks to our idyllic coastline, thriving culinary scene, endless beaches, and plentiful outdoor activities. But summer also brings increased demand on our shared resources—especially drinking water.
If you're planning to travel to the Sunshine Coast in the summer, we need your help to conserve water. Read on for details about how to reduce your water consumption when travelling.
What's Up With the Water Shortages?
A single, shared reservoir on Chapman Lake in Sechelt supplies water to more than 85 per cent of the Southern Sunshine Coast's residents. But in the hot, dry months—especially during prolonged drought—the reservoir's water levels drop significantly.
Not only does this reservoir provide drinking water to the many who live and visit the Coast, but it ensures our food producers—the farmers, gardeners, and growers—can help keep fridges and tables stocked. In 2022, water restrictions continued past the summer and into December, highlighting the need for water conservation beyond the typical warmer months.
Water shortages don't just happen on the Southern Sunshine Coast either. Powell River and Lund also draw from a single residential water system and in summer face similar challenges when it comes to water conservation; and areas such as Texada Island rely on wells and groundwater sources that can run low during periods of drought. Given the Northern Sunshine Coast's more remote location, it's important to be mindful about how your trip impacts the shared resources these communities rely on.
This is why it's so important to conserve water when travelling on the Sunshine Coast.
Remember, We're a Rural Destination
Located only 40-minutes by ferry from Vancouver, it's easy to forget that the Sunshine Coast is a rural destination. Our resources (not just water) need to cover a geographic area from Langdale all the way north to the end of Highway 101 in Lund—plus the many islands and waterways that lay offshore. This allows the Sunshine Coast's roughly 50,000 residents to live, work and play here year-round, and to welcome the many wonderful visitors to our shores each year.
Engage in Responsible Tourism
Responsible tourism is about creating better places for people to live and visit. It centres on travel experiences that create positive outcomes for all: wildlife, environment, people, and place. It's about understanding that where you tread impacts more than just you.
By reducing our collective footprint on the Sunshine Coast, we help conserve critical resources—like our water—that keep our communities thriving and ensure our destination is one that can be enjoyed for years to come.
What Part Do Sunshine Coast Businesses Play?
Like visitors and residents, Sunshine Coast tourism businesses are focused on creating a more sustainable future.
For example, many of the Coast's breweries and cideries contribute grey water to local non-profit organizations who use it to water community gardens and crops. You may find that restaurants don't automatically serve water to all their patrons—only by request. And many accommodations are conserving water by only washing sheets and towels between guests, not throughout your stay.
Conserving Water is Respectful
When it all boils down, we simply ask that visitors be respectful of the Sunshine Coast’s places and spaces, and everyone who calls the Sunshine Coast home.
Before you travel to the Coast, check local water restrictions and plan accordingly. When there's a water ban, adapt your travel plans to help us meet the demands of our resources. Simple acts go a long way. Just as you might at home, keep showers short, flush only when necessary, and turn off taps when not using them.
Every drop counts. While visiting the Sunshine Coast, practice travelling with intention, and be aware of your consumption.
How Can I Reduce My Water Consumption?
Here's how to reduce water consumption when travelling on the Sunshine Coast:
1. Drinking Water
Fill a pitcher or two of water and place it in the fridge for cool, ready-to-drink water. Over time, this reduces the amount of water wasted when filling directly from a tap.
Did you know that each minute in the shower uses 10 litres of drinking water? Keep showers to 5 minutes or less.
Flush only when necessary. Many accommodations on the Sunshine Coast are on a septic waste management system, and this is standard practice.
Turn off taps when brushing your teeth, washing your face, and scrubbing your dishes.
5. Washing Dishes
Use dish basins when washing by hand. Run dishwashers only when full.
Be mindful of your laundry use. Use one set of linens for your stay. If staying at a hotel or resort, reuse towels. If you're staying at a cabin or vacation property, run only full loads when doing laundry.
After a day on the trails, clean your bike using a bucket and sponge which uses less water than a hose.
8. Avoid Toys that Use Water
Slip-and-slides and sprinklers are fun, but not permitted during acute water restrictions. Take a trip to the beach instead!
Stay in the loop about water restrictions and shortages on the Sunshine Coast. Here are some helpful resources to follow:
Conserving water is a collective effort. Thank you for doing your part!