Fugitive dust control trumps tighter water restrictions in the City of Trail, for now.
B.C. municipalities were asked to voluntarily reduce water consumption by 20 per cent, following a Level 3 drought alert issued by the province Aug. 7.
Following a water conservation review by the city’s utilities department, Trail council agreed bylaw water regulations should remain status quo as part of ongoing environmental responsibilities.
“This was tempered by the fact that we have a commitment within the Trail Health and Environment Committee (THEC) to minimize dust levels in the community,” Trail Mayor Mike Martin told the Trail Times after Monday night council. “For that reason, the city remains exempt from these conservation measures.”
Standard city restrictions in place limit watering times, require flow control devices on hoses, and discourage washing of sidewalks and driveways.
“In addition to this, the city has undertaken reducing irrigation system run times anywhere between 30 to 50 per cent in our various park areas,” said Martin. “In addition, there is a program that reduces the capacity of the nozzles on various sprinkler systems where we don’t need as intense watering.”
Trail is very fortunate to have such a robust water supply system, he added.
“Both the Columbia River and the Bear Creek Aquifer…supply sources appear to be unaffected by the conditions we are facing right now.
“So a combination of the water supply, and commitment to the THEC plan, the recommendation was to leave conservation measures as they currently are. But if things deteriorate, we will be subject to another review.”
Fruitvale is the only local community that upped water restrictions following the drought alert.
The municipality recently switched most operations from Kelly Creek surface water to ground water from two production wells, one at Maple Avenue, the other on Columbia Gardens Road.
Water usage had remained stable since Level 2 regulations began in June, says Lila Cresswell, the village’s chief administrative officer. But after the drought alert from the Ministry of Forests, Land and Resource Operation, restrictions were tightened to Level 3, meaning one-hour watering times are now restricted to two days a week.
Hosing of residential sidewalks and driveways is not allowed.
Standard water restrictions remain in effect in Warfield and Rossland, with the latter reporting full reservoirs sourced from various streams.
Montrose’s year-round restrictions were tested when an atypically dry start to summer had water users pulling more than 28 million litres from the municipal supply. That’s one of the highest use periods in village history, totalling four million litres more than June last year.
The same is expected for August, says CAO Bryan Teasdale.
He said no significant changes have been identified in the two production wells that supply groundwater from an aquifer near Beaver Creek, but users are urged to reduce water consumption for other reasons.
“We have experienced an increase in usage,” Teasdale pointed out. “And, as such, our operating costs for our water supply and distribution activities have seen increases.”
Lawn and garden sprinkling is permitted between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on designated days and flow restriction devices are required on hoses, nozzles and spray guns.