Drought triggers more watering rules in Okanagan; Kamloops sticks with regular summer restrictions | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Drought triggers more watering rules in Okanagan; Kamloops sticks with regular summer restrictions

Image Credit: UNSPLASH/Jordan Hopkins
July 09, 2021 - 4:36 PM

The Okanagan's three major cities are issuing water restriction notices in the face of the ongoing heat and extremely dry conditions.

“We’ve seen hot weather and very little rain in the past few weeks and that trend is predicted to continue through the summer,” Andrew Weremy, the City of Kelowna’s water operations manager, said in a new release announcing that Kelowna is moving to Stage 1 water restrictions as of July 12.

“The change to Stage 1 restrictions is a response to the weather and a call for Kelowna residents to be extra vigilant in limiting their water use. The reality is that we don’t know how long drought conditions will last, so we need to be prudent.”

Greater Vernon Water, which includes Vernon, Coldstream and Spallumcheen, along with electoral areas B, C and D, has also moved to Stage 1.

Of the three cities, Penticton’s rules are the most restrictive as the city moves to Stage 2.

“We still have a majority of the summer left and we need residents to follow the current water restrictions to avoid progressing to Stage 3,” water quality supervisor Micheal Firlotte said in a media release. “Our goal is to reduce total water usage by 20 per cent in response to the recent drought conditions.”

That means people in Penticton can only water their yards two days a week, compared to three in other jurisdictions.

Odd-numbered homes can water Tuesdays and Saturdays only while even-numbered homes are restricted to Wednesdays and Sundays.

The Greater Vernon and Kelowna rules both call for odd-numbered homes to water Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays while even-numbered homes can only sprinkle on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. No one is allowed to sprinkle on Mondays.

“Under Stage 1, we are asking all customers to reduce water use by 10 per cent or more,” states a news release issued by Greater Vernon Water. “By being water wise now and making small adjustments, such as only watering twice a week or cutting back your irrigation run time by 10 per cent, we can help to safeguard that we will have enough water for our summer water demands and help keep enough water for fish and fighting wildfires.”

The City of Kelowna hasn’t set a water use reduction target.

Allowable sprinkling times vary amongst the water utilities but they all say not to water between 10 a.m. and either 6 p.m. or 7 p.m.

“Most lawns only need water once per week to remain healthy,” Greater Vernon Water points out. “Lawns naturally brown and go dormant with minimal water when it is hot – this is okay and the lawn will green up when the weather cools.”

The City of Kelowna says that lawn watering accounts for about one-quarter of residential water use in the Okanagan.

The rules to not apply to agricultural use.

The City of Kamloops has yet to impose water restrictions.

“We do not have plans for additional watering restrictions beyond our annual summer restrictions,” Greg Wightman, that city’s utilities services manager, said in an emailed statement.

From May 1 to Aug. 31, Kamloops residents with even-numbered addresses can only water on even numbered days while those with odd numbered addresses get to water on odd numbered days.

For more information about Kamloops watering restrictions go to the city's website here.

The latest on restrictions in Kelowna can be found on the city's website here.

If you're in Greater Vernon, all the watering information is here.

And for the latest on Penticton's watering restrictions go to the city's website here.

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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