EDITORIAL: Small problems easily overcome

Metro Vancouver residents did a commendable job in preserving water this summer.

We may not have much of an idea what to do when the power goes out, but Metro Vancouver – including residents in South Surrey – came through when it came to conserving water this summer.

A long and unexpected run of hot weather at the beginning of the season led to dire predictions – and a bout of neighbour shaming when some lawns seemed significantly, and suspiciously, greener than others.

But though some chafed at stringent Stage 3 regulations that even put washing your car on the forbidden list – unless you were an automated car wash patron – the fact remains water use was soon reined in to acceptable levels.

Metro Vancouver has since moved down to Stage 2 water restrictions with reservoirs now at the 60 per cent level – basically limiting pressure washing to health-and-safety needs only, minimum water maintenance of playing fields and a continued ban on public and commercial fountains and water features.

This is deemed a healthy position to be in at the beginning of fall, and while recent rain has clearly eased the situation, a reduction of public use is also being credited for the improved outlook.

And, for that, good on us – notwithstanding the just over 140 fines, and a few more than 1,930 warning letters handed out for breaking water restrictions in the City of Surrey alone.

Just as most of us realize that it’s a good thing to pull over our cars when police vehicles are barrelling through intersections on the way to or from some crisis, people seemed to grasp that conserving water was an easy and relatively painless way for us to show our responsible side.

We should be glad, too, that we only have to deal with such patently First World problems – rather than worrying about surviving war, or disease, or the devastation caused by some natural disaster.

It’s best to be prepared, after all, even if that involves some personal discomfort or inconvenience – and the relaxing of water restrictions, as encouraging as it is, is no call for complacency in the future.

Even with our relatively comfortable, relatively effortless lives, we have seen we cannot entirely predict the weather, whether it brings us spells of drought or violent windstorms.

And while we managed to get through this summer without reservoirs falling far below acceptable levels, it would only have taken a slightly different combination of factors to create a bona fide crisis.

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