Reduce water consumption anyway you can is the message several community leaders hope to shower on the public.
after it was announced the area is now considered to be in a level four drought condition.
Members of the Keremeos-Cawston Sportsmen Association along with staff at several irrigation district’s and the deputy chief of the Keremeos Fire department hopped in a shower – fully clothed but with rubber ducky in hand – at the fire department Monday.
The group wanted to emphasize their point that any amount of water saved is better than none and there is always room for fun – even when talking about water conservation.
“It’s something we don’t always think of here. Here we don’t even seem to think we have water problems. We have a reservoir but as we’ve heard, and what we know, at the Sportsmen’s Association is that if we can save water here it’s going to have a positive impact on ecosystems downstream,” Kathaleen Gibbs, vice president of the K-CSA said.
Gibbs along with Doug Boult, past president of the K-CSA thought it was important to remind the public of their role in conservation after recent fish kills caused by climbing water temperatures were spurred on by low water levels.
The fish kills prompted the ministry to stop angling along all rivers and streams in the area to help fish survive.
“I’ve been saying for quite awhile the water is too low to fish. It puts the fish under too much stress and they can’t survive,” Gibbs said.
Forrest Nelson from Fairview Irrigation said all residents have a responsibility to help conserve water.
He said one of the largest impacts residents can make is to report broken irrigation lines.
“That’s a big one here. I mean, irrigation can pump out a lot of water quickly. If something’s broken and we don’t know there’s going to be a lot of wasted water,” he said.
Joining in the shower for a jovial photo-op Monday was Gibbs, Boult, Nelson, Jim Murphy, deputy chief of Keremeos Fire Department, and Brian Barber of the Keremeos Irrigation District.
Drought ratings for the South Thompson, Similkameen, Kettle and Skagit areas
were updated to Level 3 on July 10.
The Level 4 drought gives regional water managers the right to suspend water licenses or short-term water approvals in affected areas, dependent on stream conditions.
Earlier this month when Level 3 drought conditions were declared, the ministry also imposed a two month fishing ban in the Similkameen and its tributaries and requested all users, including municipalities, voluntarily reduce water consumption by 20 per cent.
Last week the RDOS issued a statement asking regional water users to reduce water consumption by 30 per cent, and announced it had already made those adjustments at its own parks and recreation facilities.
Residential outdoor watering accounts for the second highest use of all water in the area at 24%.
“Considering most of the residential water used outdoors is used on lawns – which are mostly for cosmetic use – this is where residents can make a difference and Make Water Work,” an email from the Okanagan Basin Water Board said.
•Water plants. Not pavement.
•Put water on the nightshift. Water between dusk and dawn.
•Don’t mow. Let it grow. Leave lawn 5-8 cm (2-3 inches) tall.
•Leave grass clippings as mulch.
•Top dress with compost; and
•Change out some lawn for drought-tolerant turf and/or native and low-water variety plants.
Residents can find more information, as well as local water restrictions for their community by visiting the Make Water Work website at http://www.makewaterwork.ca/tips.