Dear Okanagan Local Governments and Water Purveyors,
Thanks to everyone who came out yesterday for our drought workshop in Kelowna. It was terrific to have such a big turnout (90+ people), with such focused, constructive dialogue. The report for the workshop is being prepared over the next couple of weeks, and I will circulate it to this list. I have attached the final agenda for those who were not able to attend.
There is no big news about the drought this week, just that it continues on. The Minister and senior drought management staff emphasized the seriousness of the situation, and that the Environment Canada long-term forecasts are for the warm/dry trends to continue. This is a combination of the El Nino, and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (a.k.a., “the blob”). Previous drought updates with links to the drought response plan and other information are in the emails below.
The workshop was very successful in that the audience had an opportunity to hear about the province’s drought response plans, and how regulations are being implemented already in different areas; likewise, it was an opportunity for the ONA fisheries group, for the agriculture sector, and water utilities to express their concerns – but even more so their willingness to help and the innovative operational solutions that are available to reduce impacts on stream flows.
The minister, Steve Thomson, gave the opening remarks and then stayed for the whole workshop, taking notes. Norm Letnick also came for two hours of the presentations by the ag sector, ONA fisheries, and the water suppliers. It was really heartening to the presenters and the water users and stakeholders in the audience to have the ministers hear directly about our local concerns.
The main thing I heard overall was an interest in more communication, and more local water user involvement in addressing problems proactively, so that it doesn’t have to come to the issuing of orders.
Here are a few pieces of media coverage:
Please let me know if you have ideas or suggestions about the drought response, or about drought impacts happening in your community.
Let’s all hope that the rains forecast for today and tomorrow bring some cooling moisture, and hold off on the lightning.