B.C. farmers concerned with water protection order

B.C. farmers concerned with water protection order
Sep 06, 2023

Farmers In the lower Salmon River and Bessette Creek area are not allowed to irrigate

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

B.C. producers are concerned about how a government order could affect their crops and livestock.

Farmers gathered at the Westwold Community Hall on Sept. 2 to speak with community reps and provincial MLAs about the provincial government’s water protection order and highlight its unfairness.

“Why in their wisdom did they decide that berries and fruit are more important than beef or livestock?” a dairy farmer said during the meeting, the Vernon Morning Star reported.

The order from the provincial government came on Aug. 16 in response to the drought and its effects on low water levels.

The fish population protection order states that, in order to protect chinook populations, “approximately 398 surface and groundwater licence holders in the lower Salmon River and Bessette Creek area must stop using water for forage crops, which include grass for hay, alfalfa and forage corn.”

The order does not, however, apply to “water diverted and used for non-forage crops, such as market vegetables, livestock watering or domestic purposes.”

The order is in effect until at least Sept. 30. And those defying the order risk receiving a fine.

One B.C. farmer is holding a meeting with members of the local ag community.

The meeting will take place Sept. 9 at Steve Robinson’s family business, Pitt Meadows Plumbing (20142 113B Ave.) at 9:30 a.m.

The ag community needs to be united when speaking with lawmakers on this issue.

“A large number of us here are trying to get in front of this problem,” he said, the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News reported.

Anyone seeking information about the upcoming meeting can send an email to sara@pittmeadows.net.

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