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Letter from Alec. C. Beasley to members of Winfield and Okanagan Centre Irrigation District, April 1941 Beasley, Alec. C. Apr 30, 1941

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 To the Members of the
Winfield and Okanagan Centre
irrigation    District.
pfl April    1941.
Recently you have advertised your intentions of increasing your Beaver Lake storage
by another three, feet,    j ^ 3&Ki&
This is an opportune time to review the water situation between yourselves and myself and as my position is similar to that of those on the lower half of the  "Flat",
and applicable; a good deal to the remainder of tha Flat#    this review might be called
the "Flat" versus Yourselves."
We both draw our irrigation water from Beaver Lake,  I, indirectly, after it has
flowed into Duck Lake.    That is,  under original conditions Beaver Lake's overflow
filled Duck Lake,  thence the Greek and so my.supply from a point on that Creek.  Thus,
it will be noted Duck Lake is a larger and superior watershed to that of Beaver lake.
This favorable factor to the Flat I will mention again later.
By the law,  priority of water licences is everything.    That is, he who first discovers water,acquires land,  clears and  improves the land and irrigates it with   that
water and is given the right to do so for all time.    And why not?    Equally so, .if
there is more water than he needs,  why should not more land be cleared and irrigated
by^another?     And this  process continued until there is no further waste of water,
but all is used.'        This is indeed exactly what is provided for by law,  - by the-
"Water Act."      The first linencee has first right to the water under his licence,
the  second ta_» s second rights and so on;     the secondr-taWa-what the firsts leaves,
the third what the second leaves and  so on.      Later licencees must not interfere with
the adequate water supply of  the earlier ones.    Position on lake or creek gives    no
over-riding right.      In our respective  cases priority is with me.    Your storage rights
do not have any bearing on this priority.    No amount of storage rights in the    headwaters of   the Mississippi, for instance,  would be of interest or affect at law an
early licencee on its lower reaches.
In a well developed district it is easy to see that there will be a  "last manM*
(There    has to be a   flast^manf.)    who likely will clear and improve and attempt    to
irrigate too much land.    For is he not coming on the scene last and taking what is
left      by earlier licences?      And the amount which is left is a variable,  changing
with the seasons,   sometimes    enough for the desired acreage and sometimes not.    You
are in this position.    I write this hard,    for fundamentals are not easy to see.
We may imagine that the company that developed your orchard lands, its pioneers,
saw a great deal cf water going to waste,  tearing down from Beaver Lake, through Duck
Lake and surging on to Woods and Kalamalka Lakes.    Enough they would see if spread ©ut
over the summer to irrigate large acreage on the benches.    This heavy wasrtage was mostly   only for a few weeks in the Spring; during normal creek flow original licesees
would leave^Dmparalftvely llt$$$#    So^he Ccsapa^rfs proposition was strictly a storage
one as agiinst f__e^T?Satfs licencees* irri^S^i^^rom~-^$Q&fe projeciri^/
Consequently there came into being Beaver Lake storage dam, and later your own works
at Crooked Lake storage.    As I have said this right to store water at law or morally,
does not effect one iota.,the privileges of prior licencees, but the storage works do,
obviously,  give physical power to interfere with or dry up the water supply of these
licencees.    Hence the right of storage is a unique position of trust, to zealously
safeguard the rights of others.    Let me emphasize this: your first consideration
should not be to insure maximum water to yourselves but to take every precaution to
see that no action is or will be detrimental to myself and others.    Inevitably therefore, your position.some years will be hard, a conflicting one, and there is little I
can say to ease it.    The amount of water you might have to give up from what has I
think hitherto appeared as your hard earned storage water would be magnified by your   .
need.    There is always also the hope of improving your water supply, as you have done «2oVj.x7. 9/051 ON
2.
in the past and are contemplating doing now.    You have further tax allies to help you
firstly and chiefly the By-pass, which is your short cut from creek to creek, eliminating Duck Lake and removing the necessity of keeping that lake filled.    By this,immense savings of waUeV'vaccEue to you.    The other help you have is that there is, eo
far, always some water seepage,  iri.Duck Lake Creek which only has to be augmented by
During a previous dry cycler p£ years, only too well .remembered by most of up*., a
great deal of friction arose betwee.g^igs,/though mostly jfaliing^n; the umpire in be—t'V
tween,  the Water Rights Branch.    It was contends^ ..against me that ifrffrLbusly in past
history, before the Company*s works were put in,' 6uok ;LakeA Creek had beeti similarly
dry as it was then,  so that you,  by your storage, were iio# tfe&pensible.    As far as ll
know the Comptroller of Water Rights never accepted this argument *.    He insisted that we
must"be Supplied and pressed for the construction of the By-pass to make easier this
end.    I and,others brought up a good cfeal of logical argument,  supported by a few facts
against this idea of 'any water" sh^ftfage in Duck Lake dreek.e. The years that have since
followed have proved the,correctness of the later Rights Branch's stand, for in spite
of youi* storage capacity, we $£*e had years-of such heavy precipitation tbafcrypVL could
not hold back great quantiti$'_*;|fcf water,-    Torrents .overflowed your dam, filied. up Duck
Lake*  and poured on in apparent undiminished quantities to Woods and ^lamalka' Lake«Pr
Even by August there was still great quantities wasting into Woods Lake aft,er X and
others had taken what we wanted.    In_ succeeding years the run off from-the ...watershed
lessened, but as long as J}uck Lake was filled there was ample 'Water in "the, ffieek t[jjggj
,,throughout August. W?t4   -;>j \e Wi
•Hence the following has been established:-
, (a)    If Duck.Lake overflows there will be more than .adequate water in_I)uck ~ISm
Lake Creek in August* SSli ':-'  n  "$r^M
(b) If'Duck Lake fills there will be still more than enough water in the
"-' '• ■       Creek.in Augustc ; j   ■ e V/
(c) That, as Duck Lake settles,   so does the Creek lessen* ,^^   "'  ;'n^i^lNP
(d) Duck Lake is situated on a mud and sand bottom at an elevation, above-the
lands to be irrigated by its creek.     Its water percolates, down through
the soil of. the Flat,   causing seepage into the creek's bed,'"gathering
volume with distance;  a full lake causing immediate seepage at its head
and- heavy volume lower down, %   W$&     fv   • ;-• .. S^S
.       (e)    That Duck Lake thus seeps away, as a Creek feeder,   (and evaporates) about
three feet per annum..    But-this rate is likely increased by a full lake
• and decreased by a lower lake... - llllll
Ffoiri this data it is evident that if three feet of water enters Duck Lake each
year"the water-requirements of those of us irrigating    from the  creek would be
adequately ..taken care'of automatically..    B        e   . . "    ?3^&£ j -."/;>
has there, at* any Jbirne been less, than three feet of water stored in    Beaver
Lake area?    Ivbelieve not*    Therefore our water■supply previous to the establishment
of your works must also have been infallible, 'A point such,as ours from which
• irrigation water can be taken' is very enviable,.- it is below a long chain of lakes
and finally below a "sponge"'(Duck Lake-)  which .equalizes .a flow over the year.
I have nonobjection to your  carrying out'your increased storage plans or other
progressive action to .make, better use of Water.      You also wish to have amended the
Water Act to allow for carrying over  surplus water from one Jy@ar to another.    This
is very, necessary,  even a. five,  ten or/twenty year storage plan is not too much as
one extreme of precipitation to another may be  that long.
'    "Why must anyone be .short of water?    So many, districts are worrying about a possible
shortage this year.    ,As I have saidy ttyere has, to be a "last mann      the one who develops top. much land for  the water available in the driest years.. Bs has no legitimate
grouch."    _5a must not pick on. prior licencees,'      It is similar. $o a too little      feed
supply for the cattle,  or,vice versa.,  not enough cattle for the feed;    or, between solvency and insolvency.    With.the "last man" management is everything.      To waste as little
water as possible in wet seasons and reduce water shortage  in dry years to a minimum.
By striking this fine balance he obtains maximum irrigated land. There is more
that could be  said and if anyone  is interested please write-to,  or see, me.
Yours truly,           ALEC*  C.  BEASLEY,                     R,  R.  Noll. ,     KELOWKA.,  B.   C.

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