Summerland has implemented Stage 2 watering restrictions, even though the municipality has plenty of water in its reservoirs.
Municipal council approved the restrictions in response to a serious drought affecting much of the province.
At present, the Okanagan Valley, the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and other regions are at Drought Level 4, while the Kootenays and Central Interior are at Drought Level 3.
Drought Level 4 is the province’s most serious drought rating.
Summerland has gone through drought conditions before, most notably in the summer of 2003 when there were concerns that the municipality’s reservoirs could run dry. Since that time, Thirsk Dam was extended, increasing the municipality’s total water storage and enabling the community to handle dry years without the same level of concern as was seen in 2003.
More importantly, the people of Summerland have become far more conscious of water consumption than in the past.
Inefficient watering practices are far less common than they were a dozen years ago. As a result, Summerland still has plenty of water in its reservoirs, despite the drought rating.
This raises an important question. if Summerland is doing so well with water conservation, why are irrigation limits being tightened?
No community exists in isolation. It makes little sense to require residents of one community to cut back on their water use, while allowing a neighbouring community to continue watering without any changes.
More importantly, Summerlanders have learned to use water carefully and as a result, our community can demonstrate responsible water use to others.
If people elsewhere in the region and the rest of the province learn water-wise methods from Summerland, our more stringent measures will make a positive and long-lasting difference.