Saturday 23 September 2023

Robson Valley: Drought Level 5

    I am leaving my 1987 travel journal behind today to blog about a serious problem that has been developing in the Robson Valley:  The area has just risen to Drought Level 5, the highest level.  I have mentioned several times in the blog about how dry it was, but despite the periodic showers, things have been getting worse and worse.

    One day last month, we lost our water, so my neighbor and I walked up to Sunbeam Falls to see what was going on.  We were shocked to see that no water was flowing over the top of our big culvert (the photo shows how it is supposed to look).  Instead the culvert was only half full of water, and we had lost our waterline water because its intake pipe was sticking into the air, above the water level.  

    I had never seen Sunbeam Creek so low.  There was some water flowing into our culvert, but not enough to keep it filled.  Luckily, by rearranging some small boulders above the culvert we were able to divert the flow a bit to get more water into our culvert.  Enough to feed our intake pipe, but not enough to fill our culvert to the top.

    I always had some of our water flow into my pond, but I turned that off to lessen the amount of water we use.  Fortunately we have had no water problems since then, but there are serious water problems across the whole Valley.

    The town of McBride gets its water from Dominion Creek.  Its water level has seriously fallen.  The Village is now taking out half of the creek’s flow for the Village’s needs.  There is mounting concern that with such a low flow on Dominion Creek, freezing this winter could cause ice to completely cut the flow of water to the Village.  This would be a disaster for McBride.

    Many people living outside the Village rely on local creeks and springs for their water.  Like Sunbeam and Dominion, the flow other creeks has diminished, and many of the springs have gone completely dry.   Some friends who live just down the road used one of the springs on our side of the mountain, for their water.  That spring no longer exists.  For months they had to scramble to get water elsewhere.  They had been taking their showers in McBride at the Arena, however because of the Village’s Water Usage Restrictions, those showers are no longer available to use.  That seems strange, because in the news release below it says the Arena will be allowed to use water for ice making (for hockey and ice skating, I assume), but not for showers?

    This drought is a new experience in the Robson Valley, which in part, lies in an Interior Rain Forest, but clearly no place is immune to the effects of Climate Change, and I fear, this is only the beginning.

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