RDEK officials are asking residents of Baynes Lake to reduce water consumption by limiting outdoor water use after the water supply reached an all-time low.

Stan Doehle, RDEK Electoral Area B Director said lawns should only be watered 2-3 times per week in the early morning or evening and only on allowed days.

“This method will keep our gardens and lawns healthy and provide a green space around our homes in line with FireSmart principles while reducing consumption,” says Doehle. “Following these watering guidelines is not mandatory; however, we ask residents to do their part and band together until a permanent solution is in place.”

According to Doehle, the water supply for communities in the area has been steadily declining ever since the Elko Dam stopped operations in 2016. The water levels are now at record lows in Baynes Lake and the surrounding area.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) has now been issued by the Regional District of East Kootenay for design plans to help restore the water supply.

“This is an important step forward in this critical project and in getting sustained access to drinking water for these communities,” said Doehle. “This is a long process, but this is an important step forward.”

Doehle said any proposals submitted need to identify, assess and recommend options for restoring the supply of water to the Baynes Lake and Elko aquifers. It should also include a detailed scope of the work needed, an estimated cost and a timeframe for the project.

“Once we have a plan and these more concrete details, our next step will be to apply for the necessary permits, continue our First Nations consultation, and conduct environmental assessments,” explained Doehle.”In the meantime, our biggest concern is ensuring access to drinking water for the affected communities.”

The RFP will close on July 12th and the chosen proposal is scheduled to be completed by November 19th.