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Transition Sooke Newsletter

March 12, 2023 

The Time is Now, building community resilience together
The Rain Gauge: It all starts with Rain  (Part 1 of a 12 Part Series)
CRD Water Tours
Dermit Lies Down to be Counted
WE-CAN webinar: Indigenous Sustainable Building
News from Zero Waste Sooke
Free heat pumps. . . in P.E.I.
Up-Coming Events
Your Opinion Matters 
Transition Sooke members were out in force to support the call for an immediate end to old growth logging.   photo: K.Rimstead
As the days lengthen, there is a lot to do, in the garden and the community. Prepare the ground, start seeds, inspect tools, share ideas, and join with others to come to grips with the challenges and possibilities in our community. 
The Time is Now: building a resilient community together is an opportunity for members of Transition Sooke, as well as the public, to present innovative ideas or ongoing projects for small group discussions. With a focus on practical local initiatives, this event will feature small group discussions about topics as diverse as water, tiny homes, resilient neighbourhoods, climate anxiety, zero waste, car sharing, community development commissions, council advocacy and much more! If you are interested in leading a small group discussion to build support for your project, contact Susan Clarke for the guidelines. 

Folks who would like to act as volunteers to help with room set up and tear down, staffing the greeting table, or assisting in other ways are welcome to contact the forum organizing team.
                                                                                                                                                                     Photo: A. Dolan
People enjoy stimulating discussions at Transition Sooke forums and events. This photo is from fall 2019. 

The Rain Gauge 
— It All Starts with Rain
          The first in a 12-part series by Chris Moss, an Otter Point resident 
Pretend it’s snowing, an increasingly rare event on the south of Vancouver Island. Another form of rainfall, snow stays on the ground as a reservoir of moisture and slowly melts to recharge the watersheds and the aquifers under them. 

An aquifer is nature’s underground water storage system. Water filters through the soil and rocks until it meets an impervious layer of rock or clay. At that point the ground above starts to fill and saturate with water. This is an aquifer layer from which many of our wells draw water. Sooke and Victoria are served by one deep aquifer and 1 shallow ones.

Rainfall on south Vancouver Island is becoming increasingly rare during our summers. Climate change is pushing our rainfall into shorter periods of time, so that a season of rain or drizzle is followed by a season of dry weather. This is not good for the watersheds or the aquifers. 

Rain, falling in short strong bursts, does not have time to sink slowly into the land. Drought has made the land so dry and compacted that water simply runs off. We saw this last fall when, digging down three inches into the garden after the first good rainfall, the soil was still dry and dusty. 

Everything we depend on has been based on the belief that we have plentiful water in our region. The Leech River watershed and the Sooke Lake watershed provide water to Sooke Lake and from there to all the Greater Victoria Region population. From North Saanich down to Victoria, across to Colwood, Langford and Sooke this one reservoir provides all the piped drinking water. This water is used for drinking and cooking. However, it is also wasted for watering lawns, power washing driveways, and a thousand other uses that do not require potable drinking water quality.  

Sooke Lake is a remarkable water supply but it is still dependent on rainwater and snowfall to fill the lake. The water level in the lake is usually at its lowest point in the September to October months, falling to 30% of its total volume. Then the rains typically come and fill the reservoir back to full.  

But rainfall volumes are shrinking. Data from the weekly CRD's website water watch shows that average rainfall from 1914 to 2021 for the period September 1 to December is 677.6mm. In the same period in 2022 we got only half that (334.1mm) and as of mid December, 2022 we got only 19% of our normal average – 55.2mm instead of 293.8mm.  

Without the slow, even, rainfall that we have been used to getting in the fall, the entire region from Sooke through Otter Point, Shirley, and Jordan River to Port Renfrew and the Rural Resource Lands could face lower water aquifers and drying wells. An intense rain over a short period will not refresh the aquifers as evenly as longer rain periods have done in the past. Surface water moves too quickly down the small streams and rivers. On the way it scours the stream beds and erodes the natural terrain, destroying fish and animal habitat. Large scale forest harvesting has added to the inability of the land to slow down and save this water on the land and to allow it to sink into aquifers. 

What can we do when our wells dry out? Hauling drinking water is costly and drilling a deeper well can be much more costly. The new well may or may not yield water, or it may be only a temporary solution.  

Next month-- It All Starts with Water
CRD Water Tours
Everyone can be more aware of our Sooke Lake Reservoir and the source of our clean drinking water. CRD Water Tours are of interest to Sooke region residents who are concerned about local water. Registration opens May 1st. The tours run June 1 to 25 Thursday through Sunday. Register early as these tours fill up quickly every year.

To register, visit the crd website. Online registration opens May 1.  This website will be updated soon, so stay tuned.
  David and Carol Mallett.
                         Dermit Lies Down to be Counted             by Gord Wallace  
Indigenous Sustainable Building

   Wednesday March 15, 10:30am-12pm  

From WE-CAN and RAVEN: How can First Nations finance and build new housing that is affordable, energy-efficient, sustainable, and designed for the local climate? Our first guest presenter Richard Hall is a Nuxalk Hereditary Chief, born and raised in Bella Coola, a small town on the central coast of BC. He is a much respected Red Seal carpenter, builder, construction foreman, building inspector, site supervisor, and project manager, who serves as a special advisor for First Nation communities in constructing energy-efficient homes. Our second guest is Tabitha Eneas, Housing Manager with the Penticton Indian Band. Register here
News from Zero Waste Sooke
Zero Waste Sooke is planning a terrific Yarn Swap with the Sooke branch of Vancouver Island Regional Library! Join us in Sooke Library Sunday, March 19, 11am to 1pm.
Bring good condition yarn you'd like to donate, or supplies for knitting and crocheting. Take home new-to-you yarn that inspires you for your own projects!  Leftover donations will be brought to Journey Middle School for their new fibre arts program.

Zero Waste Sooke members are planning some articles for the newspaper, on where to recycle various things in the Sooke area as well as food waste. If you have some ideas for other topics for zero waste articles, contact Wendy at ZWS.

Repair is one of the 5 "R"s of reducing waste. The Repair Café
held on Feb.19 in the library's large meeting room was well attended.  More fixers are always welcome. If you are or know a person who is skilled in repairing things (electronics, electrical, mechanical, fabric, etc.) and would like to be a "fixer" at the Repair Cafes contact Bernie .  The next repair cafe will be in June.
An old tape machine getting repaired at a recent Repair Cafe.                                                                   Photo: A. Dolan
Free heat pumps! (. . . If you live in P.E.I.)
                                                                                                        by Gord Wallace

Nearly 3,000 free heat pumps have been installed in homes across Prince Edward Island and, starting this week, the provincial government expanded the program to any Islanders making $75,000 or less. If you make less than $55,000, you can also get a free electric hot water heaterl.

“The free heat pump program makes it easy for island homeowners to help the province reach our nation-leading net-zero goals. We’re closing in on nearly 3000 free heat pumps installed so far, and we want to keep that momentum going so even more Islanders can save money on their energy bills,” said the province’s Environment, Energy and Climate Action Minister Steven Myers.

Prince Edward Island is doing some impressive things on the energy and climate front. You might want to check out National Observer’s profile of Summerside, the little Canadian city that became an inadvertent climate leader; and Cloe Logan’s exploration of Why Summerside lit up fast after Fiona left P.E.I. dark.

This week, The Energy Mix’s Mitchell Beer “spotlighted Prince Edward Island as Canada’s next source of breakaway climate leadership.” P.E.I. hopes to have half its homes converted to non-fossil energy by the end of this year. From solar to wind, building retrofits to electric bikes, fertilizer to “toonie transit,” Canada’s smallest province is gaining international attention.
Up-Coming Events
Mar 15   10:30am– 2pm     Indigenous Sustainable Building             Via Zoom
Mar 19   11am–1pm           ZWS Yarn Swap                                      Sooke Library
Mar 25   10am
–3pm           Seedy Saturday                                       Community Hall  
Mar 26   10am3:30pm      The Time is Now:                                     Community Hall 
                                           Building Community Resilience Together  
                                           Transition Sooke Public Forum       
Upcoming Transition Sooke Meetings
Mar 22    TS Annual General Meeting
Apr 11     Steering Ctte. Meeting
Apr 12     Monthly Meeting
May 9      Steering Ctte. Meeting
May 10    Monthly Meeting
June 13   Steering Ctte. Meeting
June 14   Steering Ctte. Meeting

To get the zoom link to meetings, please contact us.
Your Opinion Matters!
Your letters and articles in the Sooke News Mirror concerning climate change, nature and ecosystem health, development, and community resilience keep important issues in the public eye. And sending your thoughts about these issues, or Transition Sooke's stance on them to this newsletter helps keep up an ongoing dialogue.  If you have a photo you'd like to send the newsletter, a letter to the editor, a short article or a piece of news, please forward it to us.    Thank you!
Copyright © 2023 Transition Sooke, All rights reserved.

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