OUR VIEW: Watershed management good

With the Kettle River constantly on the endangered rivers' list, it's good that there is a watershed plan is in the works.

While the Kettle River dropped to fourth in this year’s Outdoor Recreation Council of British Columbia’s endangered rivers’ list (it was No. 1 last year) there is still concern.

The outdoor recreation council says that the Kettle is still at risk due to excessive water extraction and development.

There have been high water levels on the Kettle River recently and while the council says overall provincial snowpack is above the average, snow for the Okanagan-Kettle is behind and there is the chance there could be low seasonal flows again this year.

With water being as precious as it is, it is good that there is work being done on a Kettle River Watershed Management Plan.

According to staff of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB), the plan will look at all issues that would have an effect on the ability to enjoy and use water.

The RDKB said that it is also considering future risks with the plan.

The City of Grand Forks doesn’t get its water directly from the Kettle or Granby rivers but rather from wells that are recharged by groundwater (including water that comes from the rivers) but it is looking to establish another well.

Also, in last year’s election, residents gave approval via referendum for the establishment of a bylaw that will borrow money to set up emergency water supply for fire protection and that could also impact the water supply in the event of fire, especially bigger blazes and as witnessed in March with the Grand Forks and Winnipeg hotels, fires can happen at any time.

Imagine what would happen if fires of that magnitude happened during the summer months?

A water-use proposal at Big White Ski Resort is adding to anxiety as the council says the plan would see the extraction of over 400 million gallons of water from the river.

Water isn’t just something that is essential either. It can be used as a source of recreation.

Between 2008 and 2010, the river “experienced record low flows” so much so that people couldn’t even tube down certain areas.

Water is a necessity and even though Grand Forks doesn’t directly draw its water from the Kettle River, the river does contribute to the area.

With the Kettle ranking high on the endangered rivers’ list the past few years it is good that management of the river is being examined.

– Grand Forks Gazette

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