Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Fruit Production
BCFGA discuss water during annual conference


February 21, 2012
By The Canadian Press

Topics

January
24, 2012, Kelowna, BC – Fruit growers in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley will discuss
this week how they can best share water in the face of climate change.

January
24, 2012, Kelowna, BC – Fruit growers in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley will discuss
this week how they can best share water in the face of climate change.

The
123rd annual meeting of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association starts Jan.26 in
Kelowna, and the issue will be a major topic of discussion for those who work
in one of the driest areas in Canada.

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“There
are a lot of challenges in agriculture, and particularly the fruit industry.
Without access to affordable water, this industry simply cannot thrive,” said
Joe Sardinha, outgoing president of the B.C. Fruit Growers' Association

Several
irrigation districts, including Summerland, Vernon and Southeast Kelowna, have
endured severe water shortages in recent years, forcing farmers, businesses and
residents to cut use and find new ways to conserve.

The
Ministry of Environment is also rewriting the province’s Water Act to reflect
the changing dynamics.

Sardinha
said Okanagan growers already know how to conserve water. When there’s a
drought, they have to take drastic measures.

But to
grow a successful crop, they need their annual water allotments preserved to
keep the farmland viable, he said.

“A
drought situation is not a reason for agriculture to forfeit its water
allocation … We have to adapt to climate change, and there’s no giving up
that allocation,” said Sardinha.

More
than 700 commercial growers are members of the fruit growers’ association.