IT BEGINS AGAIN as a scarlet runner bean forms a blossom that will produce edible beans.

Dry conditions a cause for worry

First our bees, now our water - what's next? If agriculture can't survive, where does that put us?

We’re used to dry conditions in our part of BC. I’d venture to say that we’re even proud of the fact that we enjoy loads of sunshine and hot weather, very rarely interrupted by rain.

We can plan our outdoor activities with confidence that chances are, it will be just another gorgeous, sunny day.

And the local farms? They all have irrigation pipes hooked up. They have to, because there isn’t enough rain to support agriculture.

In all of my travels around Canada, this is the only area where I’ve ever seen irrigation in the fields. Unless everyone else has underground irrigation, or drip lines running through the corn fields, they all rely on rain.

But we have an abundance of rivers and streams here that supply all the water we need. We practically flaunt that abundance by insisting that we can produce crops in the desert.

I remember driving through this area in the 1970s and being fascinated by the long lines of irrigation pipe bringing water to the fields. I don’t know what my mother was thinking at the time – her family packed up and left their Saskatchewan farm during the Depression when she was 10.

At the moment, the province has listed our area as Level 3 drought. Last week we were still at Level 2. Level 2 is Dry. Level 3 is Very Dry.

Level 4, Extremely Dry, takes in all of Vancouver Island, the South Coast, Lower Fraser, South Thompson and Kettle – and also California which is in its third year of drought.

Level 4 is the highest and we’re moving that way quickly. Strange when you think that just over two months ago we had a flood in Cache Creek.

Drought conditions, of course, don’t only affect agriculture and wildfire potential. It affects our drinking water and the water we use in our houses, our yards, our businesses and industries. Even recreational fisheries in lakes and rivers are suffering.

If you aren’t already doing so, start thinking of smarter ways to use your water to help conserve what we have.

Water, like everything else is no longer an unlimited resource.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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