Water rules draw concerns

North Okanagan officials want more time to consider the implications of provincial water rules.

North Okanagan officials want more time to consider the implications of provincial water rules.

The deadline to provide input on the proposed Water Sustainability Act has passed but the Regional District of North Okanagan has asked Victoria for more time to review the draft document before MLAs in the Legislature consider approval.

“Why all of a sudden is there a big rush on this?” said director Juliette Cunningham.

One of the concerns is that any changes based on input may not be presented to local communities in advance.

“There is no word if we will see what the legislation looks like,” said Renee Clark, water quality manager.

RDNO is also asking for a public meeting locally so residents can learn more about what the government is proposing.

The legislation’s policy direction includes protecting stream health, considering water in land use decisions, regulating groundwater, regulating water use during scarcity, measuring water use, improving conservation and enabling a range of governance approaches.

But a primary concern for RDNO is if government agencies will be provided with sufficient staff and funding to enforce the rules.

“Who will be there with boots on the ground to do the work?” said Clark.