This graph of Shuswap Lake levels from June 14 of this year shows the red 2019 level is below 2015 levels, a year of water concerns for the city. (City of Salmon Arm image)

This graph of Shuswap Lake levels from June 14 of this year shows the red 2019 level is below 2015 levels, a year of water concerns for the city. (City of Salmon Arm image)

Salmon Arm to step up enforcement on water use

City encouraging conservation with Shuswap Lake levels below 2015 lows

The city is going to get tough on water wasters.

“We are going into a bit of a drought season,” Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, told council June 24.

With diminished snow pack, the level of Shuswap Lake is below 2015 levels.

“This caused us some concern in 2015. Even though we have a lot of water in the lake, it doesn’t mean it’s coming in to provide water for the community.”

He explained the large pumps require a high level of water in the lake in order to pump properly, so it’s critical that residents adhere to sprinkling regulations.

“There’s no sprinkling on Monday so we can play catch-up,” he said, explaining that the reservoirs need time to be replenished.

“Not only for household usage but also for fire protection.”

Along with increasing education and awareness, Niewenhuizen said enforcement will be stepped up.

“We have a list of people who haven’t followed the rules in the past,” he says. “We will be following up with them.”

Read more: Okanagan moved to level two drought as precaution

Read more: It’s spring, but B.C. is sounding the alarm on drought

Read more: Okanagan water suppliers face drought reality

Read more: Time to reduce water use says water board

Coun. Kevin Flynn noted this is an extremely important issue, and inquired about those people with automatic sprinkling systems.

Niewenhiuzen said on their day, the sprinklers can run from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., or 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. That avoids the heat of the day, when the water just evaporates.

He said one of those times is enough, not both.

“I think there’s a misconception how much water your lawn needs to keep thriving.”

Niewenhuizen said residents can contact city hall or the bylaw department if they see over-watering.

“The city will be going out and, unfortunately, ticketing.”

Harrison said residents will know that Monday is the day no one should be sprinkling. He pointed out that a tell-tale sign for him has been the Foreshore Trail, where he runs.

“We’ve been able to run all through June. Usually there are two or three weeks when you can’t run because it’s flooded.”

The B.C. River Forecast Centre stated last week the current forecast points to drought conditions across B.C. in the coming weeks.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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The City of Salmon Arm’s water treatment plant in Canoe needs water levels to remain high in order for pumps to work. (File photo)

The City of Salmon Arm’s water treatment plant in Canoe needs water levels to remain high in order for pumps to work. (File photo)

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