Joe Rich may be tapped out

July 9, 2008

Joe Rich may be tapped out.

According to a study ordered by the Regional District, the amount of water being used in Joe Rich may be exceeding its capacity.

The study was conducted by Golder Associates in Kelowna with the goal of determining whether there’s enough groundwater to support further development.

Author, Remi Allard, says his study looked at the two types of aquifer in the Joe Rich area. One is found in pure bedrock while the other source of water is located in lose soil on top of bedrock. He says the first one is cause for concern.

“When you get into bedrock, it’s a completely different issue because the water flows through fractures that are very unpredictable. There’s not a lot of water in bedrock.”

Allard says his preliminary study indicates that the amount of water coming out of Joe Rich may be exceeding what Mother Nature can supply.

“It appears that there are some areas of Joe Rich where the amount that is going into the bedrock aquifer is almost the same amount that is being pumped. So the question arises whether or not there should be more development there?”

Allard’s study concludes that any further development in the Joe Rich area should be put on hold.

“Until there are some further studies that the Regional District consider not subdividing further properties in that immediate area.”

Allard’s study will be the focus of a special public meeting, Wednesday, July 16 at the Joe Rich Community Hall, on Highway 33 East and begins at 7 p.m.

The Okanagan Basin Water Board is conducting a similar study dealing with the entire Valley.

Allard says the results of that study could be an eye opener for all Okanagan residents.

“As development has started to move up the hillsides, it becomes an issue of cumulative impact in that the people at the valley bottom are dependent on the water coming downstream. But as you have more and more people moving upslope and using more water, you’re going to reach a point where those people upslope are going to be affecting what’s happening to people down slope. So, nobody has really looked at that perspective.”