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Predicted drought prompts info sessions in South Okanagan-Similkameen

First sessions are in Keremeos Feb. 13 and Oliver Feb. 23
The Bush Creek East wildfire in the Shuswap burned an estimated 43,084 hectares as of Aug. 31, 2023. Because of severe drought conditions, if there’s not enough rain the drought season could continue in 2024. (BC Wildfire Service)

The province of B.C. along with the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen is hosting several drought information sessions in the South Okanagan and Similkameen area.

Titled Decoding Drought, the sessions will feature topics like agricultural drought supports, 2024 conditions, and drought response actions.

The sessions will provide an overview of the financial support available to producers to prepare for and reduce the impacts of drought, as well as information about water management under the Water Sustainability Act.

The RDOS is adopting a water conservation bylaw that will guide the regulation and use strategy for clean water. The focus of the bylaw is conservation, integration of extreme weather management recommendations regarding drought and flooding and inclusion of climate change.

The province also issues water restrictions that apply to agricultural irrigators and commercial users.

“The weather that we are having is so unpredictable and so extreme right now, that the economic…and human impacts in our province, feel so much more acute,” said B.C. Premier David Eby. “We are the early warning sign for the rest of Canada with what is coming with climate change.”

Extremely low seasonal runoff forecasts for the Okanagan, Kalamalka-Wood, Nicola Lake and Nicola River are also indicative of elevated seasonal drought hazards, a snow pack level report reads.

Feb. 13

The first session is in Keremeos Tuesday, Feb. 13 from 6-8 p.m. at Victory Hall.

Feb. 23

Oliver is the next place to host a session on Friday, Feb. 23 from 6-8.

March 7

The Cawston Community Hall will host a session Thursday, March 7 from 6-8.

March 12

Princeton Legion will hold the session on Tuesday, March 12 from 6-8.

READ MORE: Low snow pack may spell bad spring drought conditions

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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