Water usage up in Kamloops, not nearing drought levels

By Chad Klassen
August 24, 2017 - 3:18pm Updated: August 24, 2017 - 5:36pm

KAMLOOPS — It's been a tale of two summers in the Thompson region with record precipitation in the spring, and the resulting snowmelt that caused much flooding. 

Now we're facing drought conditions with only millimetres of rain falling since the beginning of June. 

"Last year, we had quite a wetter summer compared to this year," said the city's utility services manager Greg Wightman. "So we're seeing days when there's a massive difference in our water use month by month. Quite a bit more water usage."

The gap is quite significant with a much drier summer than we got last year. 

"In July, for example, we're actually used a billion litres more water in 2017 than we did in 2016," said Wightman. "Again with the warmer July this year, so it's been substantial."

The water management branch with the provincial government has declared Level 4 drought conditions in the Nicola with the Coldwater River running low. 

However, the province says bigger communities like Kamloops, which it notes has one of the best water management systems in B.C., is fine. 

The city is encouraging residents to reduce water consumption but reaffirms water shouldn't be an issue, unless drought conditions continue for the next month. 

Public works acknowledges that water meters, which have been in some homes since 2011, have reduced water consumption by 20 per cent since their implementation, and that kind of conservation has made all the difference during times like these. 

"This is a prime example of have we not had universal water meters in, where people are more conscious of their water use, we probably would've been in trouble in a year like this when we've got the high use in summer," said Wightman. 
"The 20 per cent reduction in residential use that we've seen since the implementation of the water meters, that's how we're able to go through a real dry spell like this and still have plenty of capacity in our plant."

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