Stage 2 Water Use Restrictions are now in effect for Greater Vernon Water (GVW) customers.
These restrictions apply to properties that are connected to GVW within the City of Vernon, District of Coldstream, portions of regional district Electoral Areas ‘B’, ‘C’, and ‘D,’ and portions of Spallumcheen.
Exceptionally dry and hot conditions are forecasted to continue, further limiting supplies already stressed due to the lowest June rainfall recorded by the utility. Under the GVW Water Shortage Management Plan, these restrictions are necessary to protect water supplies.
“We are aware of the impact this will have on customers,” said GVW in a release. “In addition to water restrictions, GVW will continue operational conservation actions initiated in June. Working together, we can get through this hot weather and maintain water for our community’s needs, for agriculture, for fish, and fighting wildfires.”
Under Stage 2, all customers must reduce water use by 20 per cent. This can be achieved by watering one day less a week or by cutting back your sprinkler timer by 20 per cent. Most lawns only need water once per week to remain healthy. Take this time to inspect, adjust and reduce your automatic irrigation timing if you have it.
Lawns naturally go brown with minimal water when it is hot. The grass isn’t dead, it’s dormant and will green up when the weather cools. Installing new sod or grass seed now is not recommended, but if necessary, the extra irrigation requires a restrictions exemption permit from the RDNO.
The restrictions bylaw gives customers options for which day (or days) they choose to water with sprinklers, drip irrigation, or by hand:
• Tuesday and/or Saturday if their property has an odd address number;
• Wednesday and/or Sunday if their property has an even address number;
• No yard/garden watering between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. any day.
Customers using a watering can or hose with a spring-loaded nozzle may hand water up to three days a week except during the hours of 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (same schedule as Stage 1 sprinkler restrictions).
Agricultural customers are also required to reduce water use by 20 per cent. Monitoring for leaks and reducing irrigation during the heat of the day, along with irrigation run time reductions, will help achieve this goal.
The Government of British Columbia has declared varying levels of drought in the wider Okanagan and South Thompson watersheds. Provincial drought levels often differ from water utility restrictions stages, as the stages depend on the utility’s ability to provide water from storage or operational limitations like a power failure, unlike the provincial levels based on natural stream flows not fed by reservoirs of stored water.
Greater Vernon Water is in close contact with the province on how our reservoirs are helping supply water to the local streams that would otherwise be dry.