Okanagan Drought Bulletin 2 – September 1, 2017

OKANAGAN ESCALATES TO DROUGHT LEVEL 3

The B.C. Government has declared a Level 3 drought rating for the Okanagan.

It’s a year of extremes in the Okanagan. Between June and August, Kelowna broke its record for LEAST SUMMER RAINFALL, with only 7.3 mm accumulated. Penticton and Vernon are poised to break their own records for summer dryness. Kelowna also broke records for HOTTEST July and August.

This follows a record-breaking spring for MOST PRECIPITATION from March to May for Vernon (2nd highest ever recorded), Kelowna (4th highest) and Penticton (ranked number 1 for precipitation), out of 100 years of records.

This leaves relatively normal levels in mainstem lakes and upper-watershed reservoirs, but many important fish streams have low flows and warm waters that are harmful for fish. Some streams are completely dry.

Drought Level 3 calls for a voluntary 30% reduction in water use for both surface and groundwater users. Most municipal systems have water conservation bylaws that differ from provincial targets because of stored water in reservoirs. Okanagan water purveyors are generally experiencing normal supply conditions, but given the ongoing hot and dry conditions, all are encouraged to conserve.

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