Greater Vernon Water Supply Update

Posted Friday, September 8, 2017

The Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) wishes to update customers of Greater Vernon Water (GVW) on current water supply levels. 

The Province has declared a Level 3 Drought for our region as some streams are at very low levels.  Most of the streams of concern are not supplied by storage reservoirs.  Based on GVW’s Drought Management Plan, we will be able to remain at stage 1 water restrictions and also maintain adequate stream flows for fish in the Duteau Creek watershed.

Duteau Creek water reservoir readings taken by GVW staff on September 1, 2017, show that the reservoirs were slightly above stage 1 levels.  The efforts of the RDNO Operations staff to carefully manage water outflows from our reservoirs, as well as the efforts of residents to conserve water, has helped us reach this favourable position going into the end of the irrigation season.

Based on the Drought Response Decision Tree below, GVW will remain at stage 1 until the end of the irrigation season.  The Decision Tree uses the following five factors in deciding the level of restrictions;

  1. upland reservoir storage levels,
  2. upland snow pack/soil moisture,
  3. the Provincial River Forecast Center report predictions,
  4. temperature and precipitation forecasts, and
  5. customer water demands. 

Although our reservoirs are slightly above stage 1, the other factors examined indicate we need to be cautious and maintain current conservation efforts.  The weather predictions indicate minimal rain in the forecast, with continued warm temperatures and with a late start to the growing season, some crops may still need water.

We thank customers for their efforts to conserve water as GVW continues to be at stage 1 water use restrictions.  Sprinklers are not allowed to be used between the hours of 10:00am and 7:00pm daily and there is no watering allowed on Mondays.  Most lawns only need to be watered once per week.  Watering restrictions are required year-round to help distribute customer water use across different days and avoid high water demands that can stress pipes and pumps.  In stage 1, we seek to reduce water demand by 10% to avoid moving into stage 2 restrictions.

Waterwise yard care can be as simple as:

  • Water in the evening or early morning to reduce water loss to evaporation.
  • Water lawns once a week to encourage deep, healthy roots.  Put a tuna can or pie plate under the sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill – that’s how long you need to run the sprinkler to give your lawn a healthy watering.
  • Check underground sprinklers monthly to ensure you are watering plants, not pavement.

GVW will continue to monitor climate trends and customer water demand to assess our water supply status.  Updates will be reported to local media and on the RDNO website at  www.rdno.ca/waterrestrictions.