The recent heat wave and severity of the continuing drought should be raising questions amongst the residents and agriculturalists that depend on Arrow Creek water supply.
On June 29, Stage 3 water restrictions were implemented for residential users.
Now, watching one’s lawn wither is no great hardship. Grass can withstand dormancy and comes back green with the first prolonged rain. However, with the continuing drought, Stage 4 water restrictions are soon likely. Kiss your vegetable and flower garden goodbye!
Questions are everywhere. The managers of our water supply, the employees, and elected representatives that constitute the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) – did they not anticipate droughts and killing temperatures as a result of the climate crisis which is upon us? Why have we seen the increase of water users, particularly cherry orchards, without a concomitant increase in the water supply? Given such sources as the Kootenay River and the Goat River, why has the RDCK chosen to continue to commit millions of users’ dollars into the inadequate water supply provided by Arrow Creek?
The common talk would have it that owners of agricultural land have no choice but to make it productive or face higher taxes. And yet, the product of choice is the hugely water dependent cherry, not particularly known for its food value, but a product that fetches the greatest prices on the international market. There are agriculturalists who bravely provide locally-grown nutritious foods available for local consumption using far less water than the cherries exported to other countries containing our precious Arrow Creek water. Exporting water in the form of cherries is not a sustainable activity. Ask the almond, avocado, and alfalfa growers in California who have reached the bottom of their water supply.
One wonders who made the choices that have precedented this crisis. Is there anyone out there who can lead us to a future of sustainable water use?
Clements Verhoeven, Erickson