Boaters asked to go slow in shallow waters

August 14, 2020

AM1150 – August 14, 2020

Power boaters on Kalamalka and Wood Lakes are encouraged to go slow and keep wakes low as they Head to the Playzone in water deeper than 8 metres. The concept is simple – after you launch your boat, Head to the Playzone! Keep wakes low and boats slow to protect our drinking water, fish and wildlife habitat, the shoreline, and swimmers and paddlers.

The call to action follows the completion of a study in 2019 that identified that wakes and prop wash from powerboats could disturb the lake bottom up to a depth of 8 metres. This creates a problem for drinking water quality since the lake bottom sediment is contaminated with bacteria, heavy metals, pesticide residues and hydrocarbons. When this sediment is kicked up by boat wakes and prop wash, there is a risk of these contaminants entering public and private drinking water intakes.

“The contaminants can enter lakes through stormwater run-off. They settle on the lake bottom and are naturally covered by new non-harmful sediments like sand and fine clay particles. However, when the sediment is disturbed and kicked up by boats, those harmful substances are back in transit in the water and can be drawn into water intakes.” said Tricia Brett, Water Quality Manager, RDNO.  Brett also says water intakes in Kalamalka Lake provide drinking water for approximately 60,000 people, and increased contaminants in the raw water can lead to increased costs for water treatment.

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