Farmers feeling the water pinch

July 19 workshop will introduce whole farm water management plan

  • Jul. 2, 2015 8:00 p.m.

Local farmers are experiencing unprecedented conditions.

Scott Stanfield

Record staff

Low water levels and unprecedented dry weather in the Comox Valley has necessitated stage three water restrictions to take effect Friday.

Though barely into summer, a number of local farms are already experiencing water shortages.

“To have this level of water in June, we’ve already lost a number of plantings of crops that just dried up because rain didn’t come,” said Arzeena Hamir, owner of Amara Farm in Courtenay. “We couldn’t water them fast enough. (We’re) having a really hard time germinating seeds like carrots where you need damp soil for a number of days. It’s just not happening lately. It’s caused us to change the way we farm already. Looking ahead, we know we need other strategies so that we can keep our farming going.”

Amara Farm, in operation for about three years, is not impacted by the restrictions because it is on well water. Still, Hamir says their water supply is “quite tenuous.

“One of our neighbours has already had to call the water truck in because the well is dry,” she said.

“I don’t see any kind of government support for farmers to take initiatives, so we’re doing it ourselves. We implement some high water conservation strategies.”

She has called in a consultant, Saanich-based Hatchet and Seed, for a July 19 workshop that will introduce Keyline Water Management. A whole farm water management plan, it uses natural landscape contours and farming techniques to slow, sink and spread rainwater, and to build soil fertility.

“I think more people probably need to start looking at this,” Hamir said.

For more information about the workshop, which will be held at 2641 Kirby Rd., contact Hamir at (250) 702-5657.

 

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