Most homes in the rural community of Meadowbrook, north and east of Kimberley, are serviced by wells. About 150 homes closer to town are serviced by Kimberley Creek through the Meadowbrook Waterworks District. Recent dry coniditons the past few summers have sparked some concern about water levels. Resident Jill Christie has written about the issue and her concerns.
“Recently a new proposal for the rezoning of land in the Meadowbrook area has spurred locals and the Meadowbrook Community Association (MCA) into further inquiry about the quantity and the quality of the water supply. Water, as we know, plays a key role in determining where life can sustain itself. This past summer season certainly made that obvious as water restrictions throughout the area were in effect. As our region grows and develops to accommodate more residents, the topic of water is becoming more and more important. Additionally, so is the development of land in which we reside. More people equals more water usage. Lack of water impacts our livelihoods as well as the ecosystems of plants and animals that inhabit the lands.
“Outlying wetlands in rural areas are vital to communities. Besides providing critical habitat for wildlife, and essential biodiversity, they also act as sponges during weather events and a fire barrier during fire season. Both of which are becoming more common with Climate Change. Marie Kohlman from Meadowbrook stated that, “When Stan and I first bought our property on Thomason Road almost 25 years ago, we had to get ditches dug around the property to drain the water in the spring. Literally, a moat around the house. The last few years, there has not been any water in the ditches, or pooling on our property that faces west.” Another local wetland in the Meadowbrook area that supported herons, frogs, and habitat for birds is now dried up.
“A group of concerned citizens has initiated a petition against a recent proposed division of land in Meadowbrook. Their concerns are varied but most agree that water is a point of concern. Due to Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) policy, the petition could not be presented to the Board. However, the RDEK Board heeded the unanimous opposition it had previously received, and denied the application.
“Some people are noticing their well yields in GMP (gallons per minute) are decreasing over time. Corey Hammill’s home had a well drilled in 1988 at a depth of 110 feet that produced 10 GPM. His well was serviced in 2020 and now produces 7 GMP. Other residents in Meadowbrook have shared their stories which include; the need to redrill wells (sometimes up to depths of 500 feet), wells that have dried up, filters needing more cleaning and replacement than past years. A local well drilling company commented on an increase in calls in the summer 2021 regarding water issues with some complaints regarding decreased well yields.
“The Meadowbrook Waterworks District (MWWD) that services around 150 homes had struggles this past season when Kimberley Creek dried up. Fish in the creek were stranded and the water restrictions (that happen every year) intensified in 2021 when MWWD asked their users to restrict watering in order to preserve supply for all it’s users. Some homes on the south side of the highway had no water for up to 4 days. Others shared stories of inconsistent water flow and noticeable debris and sediment in their water. Additionally, some folks didn’t have enough water pressure to do their laundry. Needless-to-say, MWWD put in many hours working through this dry season to support their users.
“In 1993 Wayne McNamara requested a ground water survey on behalf of the RDEK. The study was carried out from November 1st to November 5th, in Meadowbrook. The intention was to establish data on wells in the area including: the number of wells, the quality of water, the depth and yield of the wells. The study is out of date but could be put to good use as a baseline study for experts conducting further investigation.
“The MCA questions whether our area can sustain increased density with our present water levels. According to the RDEK’s KImberley Rural Official Community Plan (OCP), clause 4.3 g(x), the approval of land development must take into consideration “the potential impacts (of development) on groundwater”. An article written on September 17, 2021 in EKNOW shared results based on a groundwater study conducted by Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program. The data was collected from aquifers in the Columbia Basin and showed a decrease in water levels from July 2020 to July 2021. According to the spokesperson for Living Lakes BC the concern for water echoes across the province.
“So if there are concerns for water levels dropping in the Columbia Basin and locals on wells, municipal systems, and private water systems are observing changes in groundwater and in well yields, should we be investigating what the region can sustain for all its people, animals, plants, in order to sustain a viable healthy ecosystem?”