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Valley mayors urge conservation ahead of possible drought

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May 11, 2016 - 4:30 PM

OKANAGAN - With possible drought looming, mayors from Osooyoos to Armstrong are urging valley residents to voluntarily begin conserving water ahead of normal watering restrictions.

The signs are already here and the need to react early is clear, Okanagan Basin Water Board chairman Doug Findlater says.

“There is no snow from here to Big White and we’re usually building some snowpack at this time of year,” Findlater says. “It’s all gone except where they’ve piled it up and at the higher elevations.”

Findlater says his own community of West Kelowna has developed a drought plan to counter what he describes as the possibility of 'serial dry summers'.

A level four drought adivsory was issued for the Okanagan region in early August last summer and continued through to September.

“If we don’t get our spring rains, we could end up in the same situation we were in last year, where the province orders utlities and residents to cut back on water use,” Findlater adds.

During a media conference today, May 11, he also touched on the increased fire risk during drought years.

“Fire season has come early in Western Canada and we’ve had enough enough experience with devastating fires in the Okanagan to know we can’t waste our water."

As part of the water board’s Make Water Work conservation  program, Findlater challenged other valley mayors and vowed personally to make sure he didn’t water pavement when irrigating his garden.

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