Drought conditions are rising across British Columbia, despite a bit of recent rain. Creek flows are low and most communities, including Kimberley, have upped water restrictions.
In a special meeting on Monday, August 9, 2021, Kimberley City Council gave first three readings for a clean up of the city’s Water Shortage Response Bylaw.
While the amendment included some housekeeping items, the main point was to make it easier to allow for ticketing those who are not complying with water restrictions.
Corporate Officer Maryse Leroux explained that on the whole Kimberley residents were complying with restrictions, but there were some issues with people not resetting their sprinkler timers down to only two waterings a week as required by Stage 2 restrictions.
“We just want to be prepared to issue tickets if non-compliance were to increase,” said Mayor Don McCormick.
City CAO Scott Sommerville said they had recently received a letter from the province asking all communities to cut water consumption by 30 per cent.
“Drought conditions made us pay more attention to the bylaw,” he said.
Fines for offences under the bylaws are $100 for a first offence and $250 for each subsequent offence.
The province of B.C. has a five step rating system for drought. The East Kootenay is currently at level three. The West Kootenay and Lower and Upper Columbia are at level four.
The province has advised in a press release that if conservation measures do not achieve sufficient results and drought conditions worsen, regulatory action may be taken under the Water Sustainability Act. This includes temporary protection orders issued to water licensees to avoid significant or irreversible harm to aquatic ecosystems. Provincial staff are actively monitoring the situation and working to balance water uses with environmental flow needs.
Many freshwater angling closures are in place throughout B.C. due to increased stress to fish from low flows and high-water temperatures.
All water users in affected areas need to reduce their water use wherever possible and observe all watering restrictions from their local/regional government, water utility provider or irrigation district, the province says.