Water restrictions in Kelowna elevated to stage 1

The city says weeks on end with no rainfall have caused them to raise the water restriction level to a stage one.

The new restrictions ask people to consider using less water where they can, and act as reminder to only use sprinklers and irrigation systems on their designated three days per week.

Water Quality Supervisor Ed Hoppe says the city is hoping to get people thinking more about water consumption, and hopefully cut the demand by about 10%.

"We've been out of rain for an extended period of time, which has put a really heavy demand on irrigation. And as a result, it's put our water delivery infrastructure under a lot of stress," he said.

Hoppe says that while the lake is still full from the earlier flooding, that doesn't have anything to do with the current issue.

"It's not directly tied into the lake levels. Right now, it's more of a precautionary measure to ensure that we can get water where and when it needs to be delivered," he said.

"Right now, our infrastructure is working at maximum capacity, and we're having a hard time being able to keep up those water levels, and again it's putting our system under a tremendous amount of stress. So even at this time of year, we're noticing a few more power outages, so we just want to be precautionary."

He says that if you think that cutting down use on your home's irrigation system won't make a difference in the big picture, that's not quite true.

"You feel like you don't really have any influence on the bigger picture, but it's amazing the amount of water that irrigation systems can use, and obviously if everyone in the neighbourhood thought that, it would definitely add up to a much more substantial amount," he said.

"It starts with every person in their own home to make that commitment, and hopefully it influences the whole neighbourhood to think that way."

The restriction stages go from normal, all the way up to stage four.

Under the current ‘Stage 1’ water restrictions:

Properties with an odd number address may water yards and lawns on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; even address numbers may water on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. No properties are to water on Mondays.

-Automatic underground irrigation systems may run between 12 a.m. (midnight) and 6 a.m. up to three days per week. For example, an odd numbered home can water anytime between 12 a.m. (midnight) and 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and/or Saturday.

-Manual sprinklers can occur between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. or 7 p.m. and midnight on the assigned day, up to three days per week.