Low snowpack prompts Greater Vernon water warning

The Duteau Creek Watershed, a major source of Greater Vernon water.

VERNON - Greater Vernon residents are being advised to go easy on the water in light of a lower than normal snowpack this year.

Recent snowpack readings at three monitoring stations near the Duteau Creek Watershed suggest the region could be in for low water levels this summer, water sustainability coordinator Jennifer Miles said in a media release from Greater Vernon Water.

“No snow was reported at two of the stations, which is unusual for April 1,” Miles said, adding the third station showed snowpack at 77 per cent of normal.

Water storage levels in the Duteau Creek Reservoirs are currently above average, at levels typically seen in May. That means we may end up using stored water supplies earlier than normal, she said.

“This could be of concern if the normal precipitation usually received in June is below average,” Miles said.

And Environment Canada is calling for higher than normal temperatures over the next few months. 

“High temperatures may increase water demand so GVW reminds customers to use water wisely in light of the low snow pack,” she said.

With the higher than normal temperatures, wildfire officials are predicting a high risk fire season reminiscent of the 2003 wildfires that swept the Okanagan. 

River Forecast Centre April high elevation snowpack measurements were moderately low (76 per cent of normal) for the Okanagan Basin, which includes the Kalamalka Lake water source. The South Thompson Basin, which includes the Duteau Creek water reservoirs, is at 92 per cent of normal snowpack. The Centre forecast below normal stream run-off in the Kalamalka-Wood basins and noted that lower snowpacks in the Okanagan indicate an increased likelihood of low summer flows.

Tips on how to irrigate efficiently and maintain an attractive waterwise yard are available online

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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