Arrow Creek water supply consumers in Creston and Erickson are now under Stage 3 water restrictions after an emergency meeting of the Arrow Creek Water Commission on Tuesday.
Heavy demand, low snow pack levels and a forecast for record high temperatures have combined to create low creek flow and decreased reservoir levels. An early ripening season for tree fruits has resulted in an unusually high demand for water as growers struggle to keep their trees producing in the heat, Area B director Tanya Wall said.
“There has been a huge depletion of resources because of unseasonably hot weather,” she said. “We need the cooperation of residents so that we can avoid moving to Stage 4 restrictions, which would restrict supplies to commercial businesses, including laundromats, car washes and Columbia Brewery.”
Mayor Ron Toyota said that businesses potentially affected by such a move are already being notified of the possibility.
Stage 3 restrictions, which are mandatory and set in bylaws, prohibit the watering of lawns, application of pesticides and fertilizers with potable water, washing down sidewalks, buildings, windows and vehicles and the filling of fountains, hot tubs, wading pools and swimming pools. Watering of trees, gardens, shrubs and new plantings of grass, is restricted to mornings only, from 6 to 10 a.m. Reduction of the use of home appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers is recommended.
“Arrow Creek is at a historic low for June,” said RDCK water services supervisor Robin Douville, who manages the Arrow Creek system. “We are experiencing water levels typical of late July to mid-August, there is no rain forecast and record high temperatures are expected.”
To supplement the supply, the Town of Creston has turned on one of its two wells, which also have chlorination systems.
“We have already stopped watering lawns at all Town of Creston properties,” Mayor Ron Toyota said. “Crews will be hand-watering flowers and shrubs as we work to conserve water supplies. The Rotary splash playground in Centennial Park is the only exception at this point. Stage 4 restrictions are very close if we don’t get the necessary results from Stage 3.”
“We don’t want to impact businesses if at all possible,” Wall said. “We want to keep them all up and running.”
Douville said low Arrow Creek water levels are the result of a below normal snow pack and low rainfall since April, when only 9mm fell, compared to more than 30mm in each of the three previous years. In May, 22mm of rain was less than half of 2013 and 2014 totals, while in June the 24mm rain to date is less than half of last June’s total and less than a quarter of the rainfall in the same month in 2012 and 2013.
For up-to-date information about water restrictions, visit the Town of Creston web site, www.creston.ca.