Province of BC has indicated some conservation of water use should be done in the Okanagan with an advisory to water consumers of all types that Drought Level 3 has been reached. Nearby areas reaching Drought Level 4
Town of Oliver Public Works Manager Shawn Goodsell says
“referring to our new “Drought Management Plan” document, it looks like we haven’t hit the Towns “Stage 1 –Dry” condition yet.
“I checked the groundwater monitoring observation well data, from the Province’s wells and the levels are all within the normal parameters so far – which is just above the average.
Surface water median August elevation for Okanagan Lake elevations is 342.01 m and the hydrometric data taken for August 2017 (whole month) is 342.015 m as far as we can tell which again is just at the average point.
We all hope for rain.”
The Okanagan Basin Water Board issued this statement:
It’s a year of extremes in the Okanagan. Between June and August, Kelowna broke its record for LEAST SUMMER RAINFALL, with only 7.3 mm accumulated. Penticton and Vernon are poised to break their own records for summer dryness. Kelowna also broke records for HOTTEST July and August.
This follows a record-breaking spring for MOST PRECIPITATION from March to May for Vernon (2nd highest ever recorded), Kelowna (4th highest) and Penticton (ranked number 1 for precipitation), out of 100 years of records.
This leaves relatively normal levels in mainstem lakes and upper-watershed reservoirs, but many important fish streams have low flows and warm waters that are harmful for fish. Some streams are completely dry.
Drought Level 3 calls for a voluntary 30% reduction in water use for both surface and groundwater users. Most municipal systems have water conservation bylaws that differ from provincial targets because of stored water in reservoirs. Okanagan water purveyors are generally experiencing normal supply conditions, but given the ongoing hot and dry conditions, all are encouraged to conserve.