What’s New: Ministerial Order restricting water withdrawal in the Boundary

As of September the 1st morning, 41 irrigation (forage) water licences holders (includes surface and groundwater users) in the West Kettle were issued with a Ministerial Order restricting water withdrawal until the end of September. I know so many throughout the Boundary have been working hard to reduce their water use , thank you for your efforts. My heart goes out to those affected farmers, as I continue to hope for more rain. Any questions about the Order can be directed to FrontCounterBC@gov.bc.ca.

The following is an description from the Province of the Ministerial Order for the West Kettle watershed:

Persistently low stream flows in the West Kettle River have been threatening the survival of rainbow trout, a species of conservation concern in that watershed. As a result, on August 31, the Ministry issued a Temporary Fish Population Protection Order under the Water Sustainability Act to some [surface and ground] water users in the West Kettle River drainage. Hand delivery of these Ministerial Orders to affected water users has been completed [as of September 1, 2021]. There are 41 affected water users in the watershed, all of which will receive the Order by hand and mail. All affected Water Licences and Well Tag Numbers are listed in the Order. Affected users are required to immediately cease all withdrawals used for irrigation to forage crops from the West Kettle River and hydraulically connected aquifers. It is because of the collective effort of the community we have been able to delay these regulatory actions for as long as we have.

Even with the above average amount of rain we received this August in many areas throughout the Boundary, it still hasn’t been enough to elevate the lack of rain and impacts from the heat wave we experienced earlier on. As shown in the precipitation percentage since April 1st, we are still exceptionally low in the upper West Kettle watershed to moderately low as we move east towards Christina Lake (graph in Boundary update). Grateful for the rain we have received and the water conservation efforts throughout the watershed; this has likely helped to reduce the area impacted by this recent Ministerial Order.

The September 1st Boundary Conditions Update can be found on the RDKB Join the Conversations page: https://jointheconversation.rdkb.com/boundary-watershed/news_feed/boundary-region-drought-conditions-update

The Provincial News release mentioning the West Kettle Protection Orders can be found at: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021FLNRO0076-001706

Kristina Anderson  | Watershed Planner

watershedplannner@rdkb.com | Direct: 250.442.4111