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Extremely dry spring brings water shortage worries to the South Okanagan

The Okanagan has the least amount of water available per person and highest water usage in Canada
Osoyoos mayor Sue McKortoff shows a drip line used efficiently in a local vineyard. Most of the Okanagan is experiencing tinder dry conditions. (YouTube/Screenshot)

There is little doubt the Okanagan is on the front lines of climate change, living between drought and extreme fire seasons.

The town of Oliver only received 2.5 millimetres of rain in May compared to the average of 34.7 mm over the past 30 years in that month.

There is less water available per person in the Okanagan than anywhere else in Canada. The Okanagan also has one of the highest rates of water use per person in Canada.

The second largest use of water in the Okanagan is used on household lawns and gardens, according to Okanagan WaterWise.

The town of Osoyoos, Canada’s only semi-arid desert experienced similar water shortages, prompting the mayor and the town hall to promote the Make Water Work challenge.

In a video, Osoyoos mayor Sue McKortoff can be seen showing a drip line in a local vineyard that is used for select hours, asking everyone to make sure their irrigation works efficiently.

To take the water pledge or to learn about drought resistant plants go to Make Water Work.

Penticton had its fifth driest spring on record and Kelowna and Vernon both recorded their driest springs ever, according to Environment Canada meteorologist Lisa Erven.

This prompted the Penticton Fire Department to issue a fire ban across the city.

According to Environment Canada, Okanagan Lake’s water levels are a bit lower this year than last. Full pool should be at 342.48 metres but as of June 4, water was at 342.06 m.

READ MORE: Penticton issues ban on opening burning

READ MORE: Driest spring on record for most Okanagan communities

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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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