Low West Kootenay snowpack threatens drinking water drawn from creeks

By Bill Metcalfe
Terrace Standard
May 31, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The reservoir at Mountain Station, which feeds all the water pipes in Nelson, is not really a reservoir. …“Our reservoir is actually the snowpack, along with Five Mile Creek and the other creeks,” Chris Johnson, the city’s manager of community planning, climate and infrastructure says. The West Kootenay snowpack is only at 72 per cent of normal this year. But a low snowpack is not necessarily a threat to Nelson’s water supply, says Johnson. “We could still have a spring and summer such that enough precipitation falls that ensures the creeks continue to run strongly throughout the dry season.” Should Nelson be worried about its drinking water supply over the long term, in light of the lower snowpacks caused by climate change? It depends on the interactions of a multitude of factors including snow, rain, temperature, the aspect (north or south facing) of the watershed and how much forest cover it has.

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