Summerland ready for dry summer conditions

Province has declared Level Two drought, but Summerland has not increased watering restrictions

While the province has elevated the Okanagan Valley to a Level Two drought rating, Summerland has not yet increased its watering restrictions.

Devon van der Meulen, manager of utilities for the municipality, said Summerland has a drought management plan in place, in order to cope with dry years.

READ ALSO: Okanagan moved to level two drought as precaution

READ ALSO: Okanagan water suppliers face drought reality

This past year, along with 2015 and 2016, is among the lowest snowpack levels observed in British Columbia over the past 40 years.

At present, the reservoirs are full and are still spilling, but Thirsk Lake is expected to stop shortly,

When the reservoirs stop spilling, the water remaining is all the community has for the rest of the season.

Normally, the reservoirs stop spilling some time in July, but van der Meulen said there have been some years when the spilling stopped earlier.

“We’ve been in storage on the 14th of June one year, and there have been several years we have gone into storage in June,” he said.

The forecast is for a hot, dry summer and as a result, municipal staff will monitor the water levels throughout the summer.

“We’re generally in pretty good shape, even in our driest years,” van der Meulen said, “but it could change fairly soon so we’ll continue to monitor it fairly closely.”

At present, Summerland is under Stage 1 watering restrictions. The restrictions allow residential irrigation three days a week.

The municipality has four other levels of watering restrictions, with the most severe put in place during emergency conditions.

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