The demand for tickets to a water, drought and climate change conference in Nelson has prompted organizers to schedule a second event.
Some people had to be turned away at Hot and Bothered in the Kootenays, which sold out a packed room at Prestige Lakeside Resort on Saturday. The event featured several speakers including Bob Sandford, author and chair of water security at the United Nations University Institute for Water and Environmental Health.
Lynne Betts, one of the event’s organizers, said the turnout of 170 people showed how seriously Kootenay residents take issues involving water.
She also acknowledged the irony of the event taking place during a water quality advisory. Last year Nelson faced Stage 4 water restrictions for two months as well as nearby wildfires.
“I can only assume, given the huge number of people we’ve had to turn away and the amount of interest we’ve had, that there’s a great amount of community level interest on climate change, drought, fire and a whole basket of issues related to water, and how we’re going to manage water in the short term and in the long term,” said Betts.
Betts is hopeful the event’s popularity leads to political action.
“We know that there are limited water supplies,” she said. “So if the city had a drought and had a major interface fire, the city could be in a situation where it would have to make a choice between fighting fires and turning on the taps. So in the immediate term there’s some real challenges for the water managers, both at the city and the regional level.”
The second event, which is described as a special forum summary and discussion evening, will be held 7 to 9 p.m. on May 11 in the basement of Nelson United Church at 602 Silica St.