Will Peachland have enough water for future generations?

Will there be enough water?

Peachland’s water supply is looking good for the next 45 years, according to a report presented to council on Tuesday.

But “after 2070, we’ll start to see some significant challenges,” consultant Scott Shepherd told councillors. “By 2080, the reservoir won’t meet demands.”

The report considered whether Peachland has enough water to meet future demands.

While climate change is increasingly affecting supply and demand, Shepherd said growth is the main issue affecting Peachland’s supply, which right now comes entirely from Peachland Creek.

The study’s high-growth projections forecast Peachland reaching a population of 14,000 by 2070. Peachland now has about 6,000 people.

“After about 2070, we start to see significant challenges with the ability of Peachland reservoir to meet the demands,” he said. “By 2080, the reservoir is not going to be able to meet demands given the current use that we’re seeing, the current growth rate and how much infill is coming into the reservoir.

“A lot of work needs to be done on water conservation and demand management,” he advised council.

“It’s not a crisis,” Shepherd said, offering ideas council could look at to reduce demand and increase supply in the long term.

“You’ve got a long time to figure this out. But we can’t wait too long to figure it out because 45 years can go pretty quick.”

Mayor Patrick Van Minsel said Peachland could reach the 14,000 population mark by 2047.

Council must begin to act now, the mayor said.

“The way this council needs to approach this is to put some measures in place during in our tenure,” said Van Minsel.

“We do have an aging infrastructure,” he said. “In 20 or 30 years, we need to replace some of our water piping. How we’re going to deal with that is also something we need to figure out and maybe work together with the province and federal government.”

Peachland appears to have a high rate of water use. Councillors wondered what steps can be taken to reduce usage.

“We’ll come back with next steps,” said administrator Joe Creron.

Water meters appear to be a big part of the solution.

“The thing for me, to be honest with you, is getting all our new meters in and getting some good data,” said Creron.

As many as 30 per cent of Peachland’s meters provide incorrect readings or no data at all, the report quoted Peachland staff as saying.

Accurate meters can catch leaks and water waste.

“This discourages excessive, wasteful and inefficient usage of water,” the report said.

While climate change isn’t the source of Peachland’s future problems, the report did cite some effects it will bring.

A warming planet means maximum and minimum temperatures will rise by approximately six degrees locally by the years 2100 from their historical normal, the report said. Effects will include decreasing snowpacks with earlier melts, increasing evaporation all year, and less precipitation in the late summer.

More efficient agricultural irrigation systems could also reduce water use, the report said.

Council received the report for information.

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