As this hot dry summer continues, many municipalities are grappling with resident water use, and when it may be necessary to step up water restrictions.
In Kimberley, Stage 1 water restrictions automatically go into effect on June 1 each year and remain until September 30. In a normal year, no further restrictions are necessary.
But 2021 is proving to be no normal year, as a dry spring has moved into a hot, dry summer.
The City of Kimberley monitors water consumption, and will step up to stage 2 restrictions when water consumption is greater than the water supply can handle.
One way to monitor water consumption versus water refresh rates is to check how much water is spilling over the city dam up in the Mark Creek valley.
City CAO Scott Sommerville says that the dam is checked three times a week, and in an indication of how quickly things can change in dry conditions, he says that last week there was seven inches overflowing the dam. This week there is only an inch and a half.
The city has also activated the Matthew Creek water supply which services Marysvillel, Kimberley Golf Course, River Bend Land, River Bend Road, River Ridge Way, Tamarach Land and Sunflower Drive.
Currently Sommerville says the concern is that Kimberley residents use a lot of water per capita, and many residents are not following the Stage 1 restrictions.
“If the City needs to implement Stage 2 restrictions, we face an uphill battle in educating those who currently ignore the Stage 1 restrictions,” he said.
Fines for violating the Water Shortage Response Bylaw are $100 for a first offence, $250 for second and each subsequent offence.
“As far as the hot dry conditions, it’s a balancing act between ensuring that residents can water their lawns, and ensuring that the Fire Department has enough water for fire flows on a moment’s notice,” Sommerville said.
The basics of the Stage 1 restrictions are:
watering allowed between 4 am to 10 am, and watering allowed between 6 pm to 10 pm.
Odd numbered addresses can water on odd numbered days
Even numbered addresses can water on even numbered days
If/when we go to Stage 2, restrictions are:
Watering only 2 days per week
No hosing or pressure washing of outdoor surfaces
Decorative fountains get shut down