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B.C. brings drought workshops to Okanagan-Shuswap farmers

Potential for another drought promotes sessions in Chase, Lumby, Westwold, Lake Country, Oliver and Princeton
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More than 200 people gathered at a town hall at the Westwold Community Hall Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, where seven MLAs heard the concerns of local farmers and ranchers regarding a fish protection order that has cut off irrigation at a critical time for crops. The provincial government is holding a series of workshops across the province to help farmers and others prepare for a potential drought in 2024. (Black Press Media file photo)

Plans are underway to better prepare for another potential drought this summer.

The province is hosting a series of in-person workshops in more than 30 communities.

In the southern Interior the workshops will take place between March 18 and 29 in Chase, Lumby, Westwold, Lake Country, Oliver and Princeton.

The Drought Management Engagement Sessions will provide an overview of the financial support available to producers to prepare for and reduce the impacts of drought, as well as information about water management under the Water Sustainability Act.

The workshops are free, though registration is required at https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/agricultural-land-and-environment/water/drought-in-agriculture/2024-drought-and-water-management-workshops.

Last year, the B.C. government issued four temporary protection orders, including the lower Salmon River east of Westwold and the Bessette Creek watershed northeast of Lumby on Aug. 15 where drought put trout and salmon stocks at risk. Both the lower Salmon River and Bessette Creek feed into Shuswap Lake near Salmon Arm.

Many local reactions to the orders were less than understanding, especially in the farming community of Westwold. Forage crop farmers in Westwold were unable to irrigate until at least Sept. 30, prompting heated, anti-government reactions at a community meeting on Sept. 2.

The workshops are part of the B.C. government’s efforts to help farmers prepare for drought and understand how water management decisions are made.

READ MORE: Westwold farmers irate, fear crops will be lost as fish protection order cuts off water

READ MORE: Okanagan drought response defended



Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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