To paraphrase Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz … water and power and fire, oh my!
Unlike Dorothy’s fears of walking through the unknown — and creepy — forest, the fear of forest fires, of power outages and water shortages are only too real this summer for citizens of the South Okanagan.
Hot dry weather, arriving about two weeks earlier than usual, has the District of Summerland raising a flag on water usage, B.C. Hydro expressing concern about power usage across the province and the Kamloops Fire Centre declaring a region-wide ban on campfires, a move that was echoed by Penticton.
Taken together, it all sounds a little bit apocalyptic. But we haven’t reached the end of times just yet — these are necessary precautions being taken by those in positions of authority.
Human-caused fires eat up resources that could be used fighting naturally-caused fires and air conditioners and fans add to the load on an already stressed electrical grid.
As for the water supply, well, Summerland is no stranger to water shortages. Remember 2003, when drought brought the community resevoir down to a bare minimum?
Right now, the South Okanagan isn’t in a shortage situation -— we’ve just reached the limits of the pumps — but estimates predict that in three decades, about one-third of the world’s population will suffer from chronic water shortages. Each year global water consumption rises by two to three per cent, while the total supply of fresh water remains relatively constant.
So perhaps it is time to take notice of these times, when our systems are being pressed to the limit and wonder what it might be like in years to come, when severe restrictions are placed on power and water as a daily measure.
Sure, conserving a few drops of water here and there might not seem like a lot, but those drops add up fast. And developing a conservationist attitude now, both as individuals and as a community, is the path to ensuring there will be resources available for our grandchildren.