Drought is forcing Kelowna to threaten fines for watering lawns on off days | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Drought is forcing Kelowna to threaten fines for watering lawns on off days

August 06, 2021 - 6:00 PM

As the drought deepens in the Okanagan, the City of Kelowna has announced it could fine people if they’re found watering on the wrong days.

Residents can water three days a week with the days alternating based on odd and even house numbers.

That system is in place year round but, on July 9, Stage 1 water restrictions were put in place. The watering rules are the same but residents were asked to reduce use by 10 per cent.

Water restrictions of various natures are in place throughout the Okanagan because of the drought conditions. Check municipal or regional district websites for details.

Kelowna leaves reminders with people if they’re found violating the rules.

“Following initial warning notices, city water utility customers who continue to ignore the current restrictions could face fines,” states a City of Kelowna news release issued today, Aug. 6. “Drought conditions in the Central Okanagan remain very high and compliance with current restrictions is the best available measure to delay any further restrictions.”

Fines will be $50 but, if tighter restrictions are put in place, they could rise to as much as $400.

The fines are being threatened in an effort to avoid having to go to Stage 2 watering restrictions, the release states. Those would restrict watering to two days per week.

“Our aim is not to give out fines, but we need to see our consumption come down and greater compliance with the current restrictions,” Water Operations Manager Andy Weremy said in the release.

About one-quarter of residential water in the Okanagan is put on lawns and gardens, the release states.

“We are at a point where our choices today may impact us next year,” Weremy said. “We had a dry year in 2003 and we were fortunate that 2004 was quite wet and lake levels recovered. There is no guarantee that same thing will happen next year. We need to carefully conserve our water resources in case of a multi-year drought cycle.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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