Nature and not logging by forestry companies appears to be the culprit behind the high number of boil water advisories in Peachland in recent years, according to an investigation by the province.
The probe by the Forest Practices Board, which was launched after a member of the Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance complained about forestry activities, found that “forest licensees did a good job of minimizing the impacts of logging on water and that natural processes played a much larger role,” according to a news release issued last week.
Peachland and Trepanier watersheds were both looked at, along with Okanagan Lake. All three sources provide drinking water to the town.
“There was high snow accumulation and significant rainfall events during the spring snowmelt of 2017 and 2018 that led to increases in the amount of sediment in the water,” said board chair Kevin Kriese.
“The investigation also confirmed that a landslide that led to a boil water advisory was the result of natural stream dynamics and saturated soils and was not caused by forestry activity.”
Other factors causing low quality drinking water include roads built prior to current road construction standards, as well as logging in the past, ranching, mining and agriculture.
Commercial and public recreation, private properties, a power line and Highway 97C also contribute to water quality, the report stated.
The District of Peachland has initiated a technical advisory group to coordinate and manage uses in the watershed.
The board commends this action and encourages improved monitoring of the watershed to better assess potential impacts on water.