Meeting addresses water supply

A special meeting hosted by RDKB and the Kettle River Watershed Management Stakeholder Advisory Group is scheduled for March 11.

Viewing the confluence of the Kettle and Granby Rivers from 2nd St Bridge.

Viewing the confluence of the Kettle and Granby Rivers from 2nd St Bridge.

On any given day in late summer, communities and farms in the Boundary use as much water as is flowing in the Kettle River. That spells bad news for people, fish and other creatures. Luckily, the river doesn’t run completely dry because many of us rely on groundwater—but we have a lot of work to do as our water needs increase.

On the evening of March 11 in Midway, please join the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) and the Kettle River Watershed Management Plan Stakeholder Advisory Group in a special meeting called “Sustaining the Flow: managing water supply and demand to support ecosystem health and community needs.”

The meeting will be hosted by Bill Baird, chair of Management Plan Steering Committee and Area E director, and Roly Russell, chair of the Stakeholder Advisory Group and Area D director. Project Coordinator Graham Watt will present an overview of water conservation and storage issues being considered in the watershed plan. Advisory group members will then host discussions to get input on key strategies for water conservation, water storage and agricultural water issues.

“This is your chance to get involved and make a difference about the fate of our watershed and the river we all love and depend on,” Baird said.

“Conserving water to support healthy ecosystems and community needs is a central challenge in the Kettle River watershed,” Watt said. “By carefully managing water quantity, our communities will be able to improve water security during drought, reduce infrastructure and water treatment costs, and improve overall stewardship of the watershed.”

The special meeting allows the public to provide input on issues and strategies identified in the third discussion paper (Sustaining the Flow), which will be released prior to the event. People can also learn about the state of the watershed and comment on the vision and goals for the watershed as well as plans for decision-making and governance, which were the topics of earlier discussion papers.

“There are a lot of challenging issues to discuss,” Watt said. “How will our communities prepare for a multi-year drought? What is the role of water storage in providing for human use and keeping fish and other organisms alive in the river? How do we help agricultural producers in improving water conservation and irrigation efficiency? We’ll be looking for your ideas about how to do this right.”

“This is the part of the watershed plan that is most important—involving the communities that the plan is meant to support,” added Grace McGregor, director at Christina Lake and board chair of the RDKB.

Everyone with an interest in water supply issues across the Boundary is welcome at the event, which will take place in the Midway Community Hall (692 7th Ave, Midway— Doors open at 5 p.m. with a light dinner and open house conversations. Presentations and discussions start at 6:15 and go to 8:30 p.m.