Dry, hot weather forces change in Fruitvale’s water rules

“We will be moving to the second level of water restrictions on Monday.” - Lila Cresswell, Fruitvale CAO

A lack of rain and hot temperatures is taxing the water supply in Fruitvale.

The village does have adequate water in its main source at Kelly Creek, said Lila Cresswell, adding that usually its two wells are augmented during summer months.

“But given the higher draw for irrigation in the dry, hot weather stretch,” explained Cresswell, Fruitvale’s chief administrative officer (CAO). “We will be moving to the second level of water restrictions on Monday.”

What that means for Fruitvale residents is absolutely no hosing off roads and sidewalks, sprinklers are allowed only for lawns and gardens from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., and one hour in the evening from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., which is a four-hour-per-day curtailment from level one restrictions.

Each household is permitted one sprinkler, with odd numbered houses authorized to water on odd numbered days, and even numbered houses water on even numbered days, added Cresswell.

Additionally, underground sprinklers are permitted to water only between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. at 20-minute intervals per zone.

After drilling a new well last year, the Village of Montrose is not low on water because its supply is gathered through groundwater swells that are recharging adequately for the current maximum daily demands, noted CAO Kevin Chartres.

“Prolonged drought (several years) would potentially impact the aquifer’s ability to recharge,” he explained. “But a few months through the summer does not seem to affect it.”

The areas of Waneta, Glenmerry, Miral Heights and about half of Shavers Bench’s water supply is sourced from an aquifer located near the City of Trail’s RV Park on Highway 3B.

And, according to Larry Abenante, Glenmerry is the biggest abuser of water and when the Glenmerry reservoir gets too low,  water supplied to the other areas is shut down.

“Right now the well kicks on if the Glenmerry reservoir is calling for water, and it gets it first because it’s the smallest tank,” said Abenante, Trail’s manager of public works. “When Glenmerry asks, that takes precedence and everything else shuts down.”

To rectify the unbalance of water supply and demand to the other areas, the city has a capital project underway called the Bear Creek well water valves and modifications.

“It’s an important project and we are digging around the well itself to put some new valves in,” said Abenante.

The project consists of reconfiguring the piping and valve configuration around the well to enhance the water system by improving the volume of distribution.

By installing additional valves, all reservoirs supplying the area will get their water whether or not the Glenmerry reservoir is full, he added.

Both Warfield and Rossland enact their water use restriction bylaw on June 15 each year that advances water conservation to a stage two level that reduces watering times to four hours twice a day in both municipalities.