Water conservation urged for Kootenay Columbia region

A level 3 drought rating calls for voluntary water use reductions of 30% from water users

With many streams and rivers in the Lower Columbia, West Kootenay and East Kootenay regions experiencing very low streamflows, Kootenay residents are being urged to reduce water consumption.

The Government of British Columbia has announced a Level 3 drought rating for the area that calls for voluntary water use reductions of 30% from all water users, including residents, industry, farmers and municipalities.

Weather forecasts are calling for insufficient precipitation to recharge streams. As a result, streamflows are expected to continue to drop, creating stress for fish and ecosystems, as well as reducing water supplies for water users. Some larger storage-backed systems have normal water levels. However, many streams are experiencing extremely low flows that are problematic for spawning fish populations.

While water conservation is the goal, it is recognized that water may be needed to extinguish fires. The Water Sustainability Act allows the diversion of water to extinguish a fire without an authorization, providing the water is restored to the stream channel once the fire is extinguished.

Ministry staff are closely monitoring river levels and may upgrade the drought level if the weather continues to have a negative effect on streamflows and water supply. Provincial water managers may exercise their authority to temporarily suspend authorized water usage in affected watersheds and aquifers.

Users in critical watersheds will be contacted directly to encourage water conservation and to advise of potential water regulation.

Local water conservation bylaws may differ from provincial water conservation targets, due to local water supply and demand, and the availability of storage (lakes and reservoirs) or groundwater. Residential, agricultural and industrial water users who are located within municipalities and regional districts are encouraged to observe local water conservation bylaws where they exist.

Water conservation is everyone’s responsibility. Many communities in B.C. have drought management plans and water conservation programs already in place to deal with water supply shortages and low streamflow conditions.

Water conservation tips:

At home:

* Limit outdoor watering.

* Do not water during the heat of the day or when it is windy.

* Consider planting drought-tolerant vegetation.

* Take shorter showers.

* Do not leave the tap running.

* Install water-efficient showerheads and toilets.

On the farm:

* Implement an irrigation scheduling program using real-time weather data.

* Schedule irrigation to match crop needs and soil storage capacity.

* Improve water system efficiencies and check for leaks.

* Focus on high-value crops and livestock.

Industry:

* Reduce non-essential water usage.

* Recycle water used in industrial operations.

* Use water-efficient methods and equipment.

For more information, follow these links:

Elk River flow data (at Fernie): https://wateroffice.ec.gc.ca/report/real_time_e.html?stn=08NK002

Kootenay River flow data (at Fort Steele): https://wateroffice.ec.gc.ca/report/real_time_e.html?stn=08NG065

Lardeau River flow data (at Marblehead): https://wateroffice.ec.gc.ca/report/real_time_e.html?stn=08NH007

Salmo River flow data (near Salmo): https://wateroffice.ec.gc.ca/report/real_time_e.html?stn=08NE074

Just Posted

Fernie Swim team aims for Nationals

Aidan Chudleigh has high hopes for his swim team this year, and… Continue reading

Jaffray Area OCP goes to public hearing

The public hearing will be held November 22nd at 7:00 PM at the Jaffray Community Hall.

Oil dumped illegally at Tie Lake Transfer Station

The Regional District of East Kootenay is searching for any information in… Continue reading

Forecasters promote avalanche safety awareness

Avalanche Canada advising backcountry enthusiasts to get proper training and equipment.

First shovel hits ground at Sparwood Skate Park

It was an exciting day on Wednesday, November 8, when the first… Continue reading

Run, hide, fight — surviving an active shooter situation

A former Kelowna cop teaches how to survive an active shooter situation

Sparwood florist to compete nationally

The Maple Leaf Cup; where art and flower design meet under one… Continue reading

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

Trudeau mania, Scheer enthusiasm in B.C. this week

Prime minister, Conservative leader drop in on Surrey, White Rock

B.C. church defaced with disturbing anti-Christian graffiti

Staff at Crossroads United Church reported the vandalism to police late last week

PayPal ordered to disclose business accounts to Canada Revenue Agency

Online payments company has 45 days to hand over information identifying its account holders

Federal government to boost treatment options for opioid drug users: minister

More than 2,800 people died last year as a result of the overdose crisis

Ambulance design changes urged after B.C. man falls out, dies

A coroner’s jury makes recommendations after hearing about death of Ebony Aaron Wood

MLAs unanimous on B.C. wildfire recovery

Finance committee calls for rapid salvage, reforestation

Most Read