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Regional District of North Okanagan calling on boaters to keep wakes low in shallow water

The RDNO is asking boaters to slow down in shallow waters. Global News

The Regional District of North Okanagan is encouraging slower speeds and lower wakes in shallow waters.

The district said boaters on Kalamalka and Wood Lakes need to adhere to these guidelines due to a recently conducted study.

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The study has identified that wakes and prop wash from boats could disturb the lake bottom up to a depth of eight metres.

“Keep wakes low and boats slow to protect our drinking water, fish and wildlife habitat, the shoreline, and swimmers and paddlers,” RDNO staff wrote in a release.

The disturbed lake bottom could create a problem for drinking water quality because the bottom sediment is contaminated with bacteria, heavy metals, pesticide residues and hydrocarbons, according to the district.

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“The contaminants can enter lakes through storm water run-off. They settle on the lake bottom and are naturally covered by new non-harmful sediments like sand and fine clay particles,” said Tricia Brett, RDNO’s water quality manager.

“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.”

Brett said water intakes in Kalamalka Lake provide drinking water for around 60,000 people.

“The concept is simple — after you launch your boat, head to the play-zone!”

The district is categorizing the “play-zone” as any waters deeper than eight metres.

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