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RDEK chair stresses water conservation importance

Chair of the Regional District of East Kootenay Rob Gay is asking residents to be mindful of their water usage ahead of another wildfire season.

If more people are conscious about their usage, the less likely stricter regulations will be implemented.

Mr Gay said it’s not the end of the world if lawns are watered a little less.

“Be very cautious with your water use, water your gardens because you need the food but the lawns can take a rest if you treat them properly.”

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The RDEK oversees eight water systems in the area, most of which are in the Columbia Valley.

A list of all the water systems and current watering restrictions can be found below.

MORE: RDEK Water Systems (Regional District of East Kootenay)

Mr Gay said those who use water wells also need to be mindful and that includes himself.

“People have said their wells have gone dry,” he added.

“I’ve lived in a rural area for over 40 years and last year was the first year where we received a letter from the water rights people that they would like us to conserve and use 50 per cent of the water. I know other people received that letter.”

He said people can forget how much water they actually have.

“With our well at home, we’re very careful with it, but I know some people are not,” Mr Gay said.

“There’s not a big underground lake like some people think and it takes a long time to recharge those.”

With lower snowpack this year the risk of flooding isn’t as high, but that doesn’t mean it won’t flood.

“We are still in a drought level 4 so things are dry but that doesn’t preclude a quick melt,” Mr Gay added.

“While there is not a lot of snow up on the hill, if it decides to all come down on the same week there is always an opportunity for floods.”

The RDEK has sandbags at the ready in case conditions take a change for the worse.

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