The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has issued a Level 3 drought rating for the East Kootenay.
Record breaking hot and dry conditions have caused widespread elevation of drought levels.
The province is elevating the drought rating to Level 3 for the East Kootenay, along with the Lower Columbia, West Kootenay, Middle Fraser (Cariboo), Nicola, Coldwater River, Salmon River, South Thompson, Skagit and Nechako areas.
The Province also set a Level 4 drought rating for the Northeast, Northwest, Stikine and Skeena-Nass areas, as well as all of Vancouver Island.
Forecasted precipitation in some parts of the province, in particular the Peace Region and across the North, is not expected to significantly diminish drought levels.
As drought levels increase, maximum voluntary water conservation is strongly encouraged to maintain water supplies. The Province has the ability to regulate water usage, including temporary suspension of water licences or short-term water approvals, should it become necessary, to protect flows for fish and for priority water users.
However, the hot and dry conditions that have elevated drought levels have also triggered widespread wildfires throughout the province. In recognition of the need to protect personal property and businesses from these devastating fires, residents are advised that the use of water from streams, lakes or aquifers to extinguish a fire may be necessary and is authorized under the Water Sustainability Act.
There are no regions in the province that remain at Level 1 normal streamflow levels. However, because of the variance of conditions within each region, some individual streams may be lower than others. Both tributaries and larger main-stem rivers are now experiencing rapidly dropping stream levels. Many streams are now at record lows.
Water conservation is everyone’s responsibility. Many communities in B.C. are prepared to deal with water supply shortages and low stream-flow conditions, and have drought-management plans and water-conservation programs already in place.
Water conservation tips:
* observe local watering restrictions where applicable
* limit outdoor watering
* ensure irrigation and plumbing systems are well maintained and check for leaks
* use water-efficient appliances and plumbing fixtures
* take shorter showers
* do not leave the tap running (e.g. while brushing teeth)
* visit the provincial drought website for more information
– From the BC Government