As of noon Wednesday, Sept. 2, temporary water use restrictions have been reinstated on the Coldwater River and its tributaries, though they won’t immediately affect any users, as water levels are currently high enough.
The order came from minister Steve Thomson, minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, issued under the Fish Protection Act. 50 licenses are affected.
The restriction order will expire at the end of the month.
According to a press release from the ministry, the order is designed to be flexible. “Full-time irrigation will be permitted in accordance with individual water licences as long as flows exceed 1,160 litres per second,” reads the release. “If flows fall below 1,160 litres per second, irrigation will be curtailed. If flows fall below the minimum flows required of 960 litres per second, all irrigation will be suspended.”
The ministry will measure and communicate flows every Monday and Friday over the rest of September.
The reason the ministry gives for giving the order is to protect salmon in the river. “In addition to protecting juvenile fish, larger adult coho and chinook salmon will be arriving soon to spawn,” said the government. “To improve spawning conditions and limit predation on these spawning fish during this critical period, flows on the river need to be at least 960 litres per second.”
All angling on the Nicola, Coldwater and Spius rivers have been suspended since July 22.