Keeping a pulse on lake levels

Know the state of waters to manage consumption wisely

Dear Editor:

The heat of last summer left us all feeling a little thirsty, including Lake Windermere. Just last year, lake levels dropped at the highest rate since the Lake Windermere Ambassadors began monitoring the watershed in 2010. Monthly averages show that 2017 had the most dramatic rate of lake level decline between June and September, at 40% (compared to 20% in prior years).

We wouldn’t know this without monitoring the lake and the creeks that are connected to it. One of the most important ways to get ahead of water scarcity (when water flow doesn’t meet human and environmental needs) is to know the current state of our waters and to manage our consumption wisely to ensure there’s enough when we need it.

Water monitoring programs like Lake Windermere’s are critical to a secure water future. In an era of climate change, B.C. needs to know how it will monitor, enforce and allocate scarce water supplies. Climate change is affecting every community in the province, exacerbating drought, flooding, hot and dry summers, risk of wildfires — and all of it is connected to the flow of water, from snowmelt, to rainfall, to groundwater.

We are lucky there is local support for water monitoring in the Columbia Valley, which is not the case for many other areas in B.C. The problem is, there’s still a knowledge gap. Gathering the science we need to make better decisions about water resources has to be a higher priority at all levels of government and community, with a stronger strategy to fund and coordinate water monitoring efforts throughout B.C. at the provincial scale (of which community-based monitoring programs are a big part, and getting bigger). Such a strategy would empower our communities to have a greater voice, and support the water flows our economies rely on.

As the saying goes, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”. Changing lake levels in Lake Windermere are a potential warning sign for us all to pay attention to. What will we do locally to adapt and prevent scarcity in our watershed?

Katie Watt, LWA Youth Representative

Fairmont Hot Springs

Just Posted

Fatality on Hwy 93/95 near Radium

Accident by Juniper Heights shuts down highway

Drum from the heart at Pynelogs

Monday Night Drum Circle adds rhythm to the soul

Legacy donation for Westside Legacy Trail

Trailbuilding wraps up for season soon

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Kootenay company to layoff part of workforce

Pacific Insight near Nelson says it is transferring automotive production to its Mexico facility

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

B.C. has only one bricks-and-mortar marijuana store

After 50 years, ‘Sesame Street’ Big Bird puppeteer retiring

The puppeteer who has played Big Bird on “Sesame Street” is retiring after nearly 50 years on the show.

Britain, EU decide to take some time in getting Brexit right

Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said “we need much time, much more time and we continue to work in the next weeks.”

Parole denied for convicted killer-rapist Paul Bernardo after 25 years in prison

Paul Bernardo plead for release on Wednesday by arguing he has done what he could to improve himself during his 25 years in prison.

Man holds newborn son for first time after devastating B.C. racetrack crash

Kayden was born the day after Jonathan was crushed by car at speedway

Smooth start to legal cannabis in B.C., Mike Farnworth says

Online and government store makes 4,000 sales by noon

B.C. Lions look to cement CFL playoff spot with victory over Eskimos

B.C. can cement a post-season berth in the wild West Division on Friday night with a home win over the Edmonton Eskimos

Most Read