Discomfort at the tap

There’s an old saying that when the water hole shrinks, the animals look at each other differently

There’s an old saying that when the water hole shrinks, the animals look at each other differently.

This is certainly the case in B.C., particularly in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island, where drought conditions and subsequent tightening water restrictions have neighbours policing each other for water use.

Today, Friday, July 10, the sky is overcast and it looks like rain is on the way.

That’s what I call a win-win-win.

All of the province could use a solid week or so of rain, to help ease the battle against the numerous wildfires and provide a much needed replenishing of water reserves.

It might also help stem the flow of ‘drought shaming’ – a public humiliation via the Internet of water abusers – that has generated a wave of debate on the West Coast.

Many are shaming the B.C. government for moving ahead with the Water Sustainability Act and a pricing structure that would see private companies pay a paltry $2.25 per million litres of extracted groundwater (which we, in turn, can pay buy back at $1 per 500 millilitres).

That is $2.25 more than what companies currently pay. But still.

Folks have also taken to making an example of their neighbourhood water abusers – those who feel their watering needs take precedent over pesky restrictions. While some choose to shame abusers via Twitter and social media, others are reporting those abusers to local municipalities, which in turn pay a visit to said abusers and issue a warning or a fine.

This phenomenon is currently the subject of debate on the Internet, with people questioning whether or not it’s right to “snitch” on your neighbours.

Some argue people should attempt to communicate with their water-abusing neighbours instead of reporting them, claiming the snitch approach further degrades sense of community.

If said abusers had community in mind, I’d expect there wouldn’t be a need to report them. Furthermore, if abusers are knowingly bucking watering restrictions, it’s unlikely they’ll be positively receptive to interference from their nosy water-wise neighbours.

As for municipalities doing the enforcement, they should be grateful for the neighbourhood watch. Lack of enforcement ability is a common criticism among municipal councils when contemplating regulation.

Thankfully, there does not yet appear to be a need for tightened water restrictions in the Shuswap. There are water restrictions in place for Salmon Arm and Sicamous, and people, for the most part, appear to be following them.

Hopefully this reflects not only respect for community, but also the fact water, even in B.C., is a finite resource that cannot be taken for granted.



Just Posted

Festival goers at the 27th annual Roots and Blues Festival

The Observer asked: Where are you from and what brought you to the festival?

In photos: The 27th Annual Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival

Images from Friday evening and Saturday at the festival grounds.

Summerland cannabis shop receives approval in principle

Inspection now required before Green Gaia may sell cannabis

North Okanagan-Shuswap Liberal candidate responds to Trudeau ethics report

Prime Minister’s immediate response to commissioner’s findings appreciated

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Summerland’s downtown has gone through numerous changes

Main Street has been commercial hub of community for many years

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Okanagan climate advocacy group protests against Tolko

Group to demonstrate outside Vernon head office Monday over plan to log close to water supply

Okanagan Cultural Connections live venue tour kicks off in Vernon

Two dozen promoters, national booking agents, and music reps to visit venues from Vernon to Oliver

Most Read