Level 1 drought rating remains for Okanagan Valley

Hot Okanagan summer forecast means use water wisely

The provincial government has elevated most water basins in the province to a Level 2 drought rating, but the Okanagan remains in Level 1 based on current water supply.

It is expected that the Okanagan Valley will experience another year of summer temperature extremes.

Corinne Jackson, communications director with the Okanagan Basin Water Board, said the region had record-setting snow packs this winter, but they melted quickly in May and early June due to hot weather.

Although the weather has been cooler this week, the forecast is for above-normal temperatures this summer, she noted.

While Okanagan water purveyors are generally experiencing average or above-average supply conditions, the water board encourages everyone to use water wisely and ensure their drought plans are ready to activate if needed.

The province is asking licensees with upstream storage to closely follow their release schedule requirements to avoid low flows downstream and potential impacts to fish. Flows in some streams can change rapidly during hot, dry conditions.

All independent licensees on streams, and all groundwater users who are on aquifers that may be connected to streams, are encouraged to monitor their withdrawals and ensure they are using water efficiently.

Information on drought levels and average streamflows is available on the Okanagan Drought Bulletin, accessible online at www.obwb.ca.

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