Fernie has begun city-wide water conservation measures as a result of high seasonal water levels causing turbidity in water drawn from the city’s primary water source at Fairy Creek.
The city has temporarily switched to using its secondary back-up source at James White, which was built to accommodate seasonal turbidity of water at Fairy Creek. The backup has less capacity than Fairy Creek due to being a back-up, thus requiring residents to limit their water usage for now.
The measures will be in place while the water levels high during Spring run-off according to city staff, who said that commercial and residential lawn watering is the largest source of water waste.
Water levels and quality at the primary source will determine how long the measures stay in place.
Under the rules, residents with odd-numbered home addresses may only water their gardens on odd-numbered calendar days, and those with even-numbered addresses may only water on even-numbered calendar days.
There are also limits on times that residents can water – with residents asked to only water between 7pm and 7am, and only for an hour at most.
Waterways around the region are currently high as a result of Spring run-off, with the Regional District of East Kootenay and City of Fernie encouraging locals to remain vigilant and stay safe around rivers and streams.
According to the RDEK, water levels are expected to rise further in coming days, and the district has set up self-fill sandbag stations for locals to help protect their properties, including a station in Hosmer at the Elk River Hostel and Pub.
Likewise, the City of Fernie has set up a self-fill station outside the public works building on Railway Avenue. For both the RDEK and City of Fernie, bags and sand are provided, but residents must bring their own shovels and ties.
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