A temporary water restriction order is being rescinded earlier than planned for water licensees and groundwater users in the Thompson Okanagan region’s Bessette Creek area.
Effective Sept. 8, 2021, diversion and use of water for irrigation by certain users is again allowed in the Bessette Creek watershed, its tributaries and hydraulically connected aquifers.
A temporary protection order in the Bessette Creek area was put in place on Aug. 19, 2021. It was expected to remain in place until Sept. 30, 2021, to reduce the strain on aquatic life in the system and restore flow volumes required to ensure the survival of culturally and economically important aquatic species. Conditions were especially challenging for the retuning runs of Chinook salmon, which are designated as endangered.
Chinook migration is now considered complete in the Bessette Creek watershed, which means the Aug. 19 order is no longer necessary to mitigate the threat to fish populations. Compliance with the Aug. 19 order helped the curtailment end earlier than planned.
Rescinding the order means affected users will be able to resume irrigating for the remainder of the growing season. This will allow for additional crop growth and pre-winter watering to aid in both plant and soil health in an area that has been severely affected by wildfires and drought.
Staff will monitor flows daily. If further action is required, staff will prepare an additional order for consideration by the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
Drought portal (maps, tables):
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