Monthly Archives: July 2015

Province issues water conservation letters to licence holders

Dry side channel of Kettle River west of Grand Forks (Graham Watt photo)

Amid level 4 drought, Province issues letters to water licencees in Kettle River. From the letter:

Responding to the continued dry conditions, the Province of BC is announcing a Level 4 drought for the Kettle watershed based on declining steam flows. Aligning with the Provincial Drought Response Plan, the target under Drought Level 4 conditions is defined as increased voluntary conservation, potential restrictions and regulatory actions if required. All licensed surface water users are reminded of the 30% voluntary reduction from the Level 3 Drought letter sent July 20, 2015 and are advised regulatory actions are being prepared in the event these conditions continue…

Groundwater extraction from aquifers that are hydrologically connected to a stream generally include wells completed in unconfined sand and gravel aquifers where the intake is not separated from the surface water body by a confining (e.g. clay) layer. Your voluntary compliance in reducing use from these sources is important for maintaining cool groundwater inputs into streams in the Kettle watershed this summer, and for preventing long-term groundwater level declines in the aquifer.

Copy of letter: http://kettleriver.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Kettle-Level-4-Letter-final-July-29-2014.pdf

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Kettle River under low flow advisory

The Kettle River is under a Low Streamflow Advisory because of extreme low flow conditions and warm water temperatures:

  • Kettle River near Westbridge (08NN026) is currently recording a flow of 3.92 m3/s, which is 24% of the median flow (3rd percentile) and close to the recorded minimum flow for this period of time.
  • Granby River at Grand Forks (08NN002) is currently recording a flow of 3.49 m3/s, which is 25% of the median flow (2nd percentile) and below the recorded minimum flow for this period of time.
    http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/lowflow/droughtmap.htm

From the perspective of protecting water quality, aquatic ecosystems, and downstream water users, it is critical that water users and water suppliers implement strong water conservation measures in the near future.

The Kettle River Watershed Management Plan (http://kettleriver.ca/watershed-management-plan/) identified the need for water suppliers to work together on water conservation, drought preparedness and response, and long term water supply planning – this drought is a trigger to start the conversation. What do you think our priorities should be in the discussion?  What is the role of provincial regulations about environmental flows and groundwater licencing, and how should local stakeholders, regional partnerships, and First Nations be engaged and provide consent?

Flow for July 28 since 1930 for Kettle River at Laurier, Washington