Whether discussion is about water conservation, water rates, or the new water treatment plant, these discussions all assume that there IS water to manage. These “end of pipe” issues obscure the real urgency concerning Peachland’s water, – how to we protect and secure the water source – the place our water actually comes from.
We are at a tipping point in Peachland. New residential developments increase demand for water. The changing climate disrupts the historical water cycles, with more unpredictable weather patterns. Weather patterns that we have typically relied upon to recharge our water supply. Large-scale industrial activities including clear-cut logging have major impacts on water production and collection. We understand we need to conserve water, but it seems we don’t understand the need to protect the source.
Some people will say Peachland Lake is the source of our water, others would say it’s Deep Creek. But there is no single-point source for Peachland’s water supply. Peachland’s water comes from “somewhere” to fill Peachland Lake and the creek. Perhaps if there was one “source’ like a spring or a well, implementing a clear solution to protect it would be simple. But since the actual source of our water is not one specific feature, but from “somewhere”, the vast area of land west of the town (our watershed), that acts as a funnel for snowmelt and rain water, protecting such a sizeable area seems like an insurmountable challenge. But it is a challenge that we cannot ignore, or pass on to future generations.
Securing our fresh water sources is how Peachland can secure its future. With our water supply protected and secure, we can then develop conservation strategies, financial incentives, and disincentives, and ensure that our town can grow sustainably, in balance with the natural environment that everyone here loves. Without water protection we run the risk of ending up like towns in the US southwest, whose aquifers are dry and the Colorado River almost empty.
The BC government is implementing a Watershed Security Strategy to help communities protect their water sources. You can take a short survey to share your thoughts about secure water sources.