As of May 15th, the Okanagan has a slightly below-normal snow pack, and the weather in the next month will determine whether we experience any water supply issues.
According to the B.C. River Forecast Centre, “The combination of early snowmelt and lack of spring rainfall increases the risk for drought and low flow conditions through the summer for many areas in southern B.C.“
Some water suppliers are already asking their customers to be conscientious with their water use.
Shaun Reimer, who operates the Okanagan Dam in Penticton has begun to ramp down the releases to the Okanagan River channel to hold back some water in Okanagan Lake.
Snow is entirely melted at the mid-elevation Brenda Mines snow pillow, and is close to half-melted at the Silver Star and Mission Creek snow pillow stations.
The Canadian drought monitor website hasn’t been updated recently, but the U.S. drought monitor shows (as of May 20th) that Okanogan County to the south of us is “Abnormally Dry.”
There are widespread drought conditions (moderate to extreme) in most of the U.S. western states, with historically low reservoir levels in some areas and concerns about an early and intense wildfire season.