Summerland still has plenty of water in its reservoirs, but because of serious drought conditions provincewide, the municipality has increased its watering restrictions.
At the end of last week, the Okanagan Valley was placed under Drought Level 4, the most severe level in the province’s designations.
“A provincial declaration of a Drought Level 4 is recognition of the seriousness of water shortages throughout the province,” Mayor Peter Waterman said. “As a community, we need to continue to vigorously reduce water use wherever we can and be efficient stewards of a precious resource.”
Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland have been under Drought Level 4 for much of the summer.
At present, the Kootenays and the central part of the province are under Drought Level 3, while much of northern B.C. is under Drought Level 2. The central coast and the northwestern part of the province are under Drought Level 1, which represents normal conditions.
Despite the dry conditions this summer, the municipality has plenty of water in its reservoirs.
The most recent reservoir level readings, taken at the end of last week, showed Summerland still had 79 per cent of its total volume of stored water.
“Summerland has adequate levels at this time,” said Linda Tynan, chief administrative officer for the municipality. “This is an unprecedented drought.”
Coun. Richard Barkwill said Summerlanders have shown themselves to be responsible users of water.
“People in Summerland have over the years become very good stewards of water,” he said.
Summerland has five levels of residential water restrictions.
The default level, Stage 1, allows watering three times a week. Stage 2 reduces this to twice a week and Stage 3 allows watering once a week. Under Stage 4 and 5, residential lawn watering is not permitted.
Waterman said increasing the restrictions in Summerland will serve as an example for other communities in the region.
“We’re in a position to be leaders in this area,” he said.
The resolution to increase the restrictions was carried unanimously.