A little drink of rain on Wednesday was certainly welcome in this summer of arid climate, however it’s not near enough to quench the Lower Columbia’s current “Level 4” drought.
Level 4, or “extremely dry,” is the second-highest drought designation according to B.C.’s 2021 Drought and Water Scarcity Response Plan. The plan forecasts negative social, economic and ecological impacts at this stage, prompting government to ask towns and cities across British Columbia to voluntarily cut their water usage by half.
This provincial request led the City of Trail to follow suit last week by reducing watering times in some municipal parks and green spaces by 50 per cent.
This may result in brown grass in certain areas, however the city deems it more important to preserve water during this time.
Further, the municipality is asking residents to reduce the amount of lawn watering with conventional methods (hose and sprinkler head) by 50 per cent.
Instead of running automatic sprinklers the permitted 30 minutes per zone, the city asks residents to cut the time to 15 minutes per zone.
As well, locals are reminded to refrain from wetting down sidewalks and driveways.
Similarly in Rossland, given the drought conditions and extreme fire danger, the city has tightened water restrictions to ensure there is adequate water available to fight a wildfire.
In Rossland, however, this means residents are not permitted to water their lawns or use underground sprinklers.
There are no watering restrictions for personal-use edible vegetable gardens and fruit trees.
Hand watering and drip or micro irrigation is only permitted between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Likewise, the Beaver Valley Water Service is now running at Stage 3 water conservation. This means valley residents are limited to one hour of watering in the morning and one hour in the evening. To clarify, odd house numbers are permitted to water from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays only, and even numbered addresses during the aforementioned hours only on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Those with in-ground irrigation systems are limited to a two-hour time frame, 2 a.m. to 4 a.m., regardless the number of zones.
The wildfire situation is continually evolving though by press time on Wednesday, statistics show 57 fires burning in the Southeast Fire Centre, which covers the West Kootenay and extends from the U.S. border to Mica Dam and from the west side of the Monashee mountains to the B.C./Alberta border.