Councillor wants action on drought

Recently returned from a drought workshop with the Okanagan Basin Water Board, Coldstream Coun. Gyula Kiss is urging municipalities to consider water restrictions before it’s too late.

“If there’s going to be a potential drought they should start the restrictions early,” said Kiss. You have to save the water while you have the water. You can’t save it when it’s gone.”

While Greater Vernon is on some year-round water restrictions (even numbered houses water on even days, odd numbers water on odd days) Kiss suggests increased restrictions be put into place before officials discover water levels are low for the season.

But Coun. Doug Dirk warns that sudden restrictions can have an adverse effect on water supply.

“Initially when you step up water restrictions it doesn’t change the usage. People make sure they’re using their allowed amount,” said Dirk.

Educating agricultural water users also need to be considered, said Coun. Maria Besso, who says residents get frustrated when they are on restrictions yet farmers have their sprinklers going 24/7.

“It’s that perception that people have when they see sprinklers going all day and during the middle of the day,” said Besso.

But farmers often have to keep sprinklers going all day in order to pass over all of their land and water their entire crop, said Mayor Jim Garlick.