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Unseasonal hot, dry conditions prompt City to implement water conservation measures

The flowers at Lakeside Park as well as Lakeside sport fields, Davies Park and Nelson Memorial Park Cemetery are irrigated using-non potable lake water. — The Nelson Daily photo

It wasn’t that long ago people we’re worried about flooding.

However, everything has changed now that above seasonal hot and dry conditions are blanketing the province, prompting the City of Nelson to implement a Level 1 Mandatory Water Conservation for all users serviced by the municipal drinking water system — which means watering only two times per week.  

BC is also under a State of Emergency due to the numerous wildfires and evacuations of residents in the Central Interior of the province.

“We were able to manage through a long dry summer in 2015 and when called upon the community reduced its summer water use by 50% and I am confident that we can do this again,” said Nelson Mayor Deb Kozak Tuesday in a media release.

“With the wildfires burning throughout the interior I know we all will do our part in protecting our water supply.”  

Kozak was commenting on 2015, when council amended its water bylaw to set normal watering periods as mornings and evenings every second day, depending on the street address. 

The water bylaw is the new normal watering period and restrictions are applied to this base.   

The media release said thunderstorms and rainfall help in the short term to temporarily replenish our source water, but this season’s historically deep snow pack is rapidly diminishing. 

“This snowpack is the key to maintaining base-flow in our creeks which are the only source of our municipal water,” the release said.

“The hot weather will reduce the creek flows and impact water availability to the public and for fire protection.”   

During the summer domestic water usage in Nelson peaks and can increase by as much as 50 percent compared to cooler months, but water restrictions and conservation have historically had a big impact and help us through this time.  

In 2015 we faced a similar extended period of dry and hot weather, which strained our water supplies.  By implementing water restrictions; progressively moving from Level 1 to 3, residents complied and the City saw water use decline by 50 percent despite six weeks of hot temperatures and little rain.  

The City’s main water source — Five Mile Creek — is currently experiencing heavy water demand and, in response, the City is tapping into its secondary water sources to augment supply.  Anderson Creek is now online, and Selous Creek is also being prepared and will be online shortly.  

The release said City staff have been busy helping its own cause byreplacing water mains that has greatly reduced water loss in our water system.

As well many of the largest parks and public spaces in Nelson, including Lakeside Park, Lakeside sport fields, Davies Park and Nelson Memorial Park Cemetery are irrigated using-non potable lake water.  Flower beds and hanging baskets are hand-watered to ensure just the right amount of water is used so water is not wasted.  A water conservation program has been implemented which includes hiring a water ambassador to work directly with citizens.  City flush trucks also use non-potable water.  Despite growth, the community has reduced its water usage on average, by 10% from 2009 levels. 

For residents, conserving water under the Level 1 Water Restrictions is simple - even number addresses are permitted to water via sprinkler or irrigation system ONLY on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the hours of 4-9 a.m. and 7-10 p.m. 

Residents with an odd number address can water via sprinkler or irrigation system ONLY on Thursday and Sunday during the hours of 4-9 a.m. and 7-10 p.m. 

There are no restrictions on hand watering for residents with a shut-off nozzle. Anyone with new sod or plantings and wish to water outside of these hours, require a permit and can contact the City of Nelson Public Works Department via email publicworks@nelson.ca