The West Kootenay experienced record-breaking high temperatures in spring and summer 2015. By early July, wildfires burned at Nelson’s doorstep, and the city was on Stage 4 water restrictions for two months. Outside Nelson, rural residents, dependent on surface water, continued to see lower water levels in the streams they rely on for drinking water. Some residents were completely without water at times during the summer.
“If there had been a significant wildfire closer to the city, we don’t even know if the city would’ve had the water resources to fight it and keep the taps running,” said Nelson city councillor Valerie Warmington.
That’s why a group of citizens have organized the first water, drought and climate change forum in Nelson, on Saturday, April 23 at the Prestige Lakeside Resort.
“Anyone who drinks water, wants to know more about climate change, what we can expect here in the Kootenays, and wants to be part of creating local solutions to these emerging issues, should join us,” says Jan Inglis, a member of the forum’s planning committee.
“We want a way to share information about our common concern about the future of water in the region,” says Ramona Faust, Regional District of Central Kootenay Area E director. “This forum is a place where people can learn more about the projected local impacts of climate change and what those may mean for the water we rely on.”
If you are talking about water and climate, you’re talking about droughts and wildfire too, because they are all connected. That’s why the free forum — dubbed Hot and Bothered in the Kootenays — includes presentations, panel discussions and mini-workshops on water conservation and fire preparedness.
Everyone is invited to the forum’s day-long discussion, including presentations on climate change, local water resources, changes in glaciers, water and energy conservation, and the new Water Sustainability Act. Featured guest speakers include: Robert Sandford, author and chair of water security, United Nations University Institute for Water and Environmental Health; Dr. Mel Reasoner, climate scientist; Rosie Simms, the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance; Dr. Martin Carver; Dr. Anna Warrick Sears from the Okanagan Basin Water Board; forester John Cathro, and others.
A series of short, mini-workshops are planned on topics including conserving water in the home, garden xeriscaping, fire-smarting your home, energy conservation, alternative energy, and climate despair and hope.
Thanks to the generous sponsors, lunch is provided to all pre-registered participants. Register today at hotandbotheredinthekoots.org. Join the discussion on Facebook at Hot and Bothered in the Kootenays and share this information with others.