The weather may be cooling off after B.C.’s summer of record-breaking heat, but concerns around water security remains for many southern B.C. communities.
Although recent rains have helped alleviate drought conditions in the northern and eastern regions of B.C., the Southwest Interior has been largely skipped by precipitation systems.
In a news release issued Aug. 31, the province called on British Columbians to heed water conservation efforts. All water users in drought-stricken areas are asked to reduce their water usage and follow local watering restrictions.
The province warns that if conservation measures prove insufficient, regulatory action will continue to be taken under the Water Sustainability Act, which gives the province powers to curtail water use for industrial and agricultural users to maintain viable flows for fish.
As of Aug. 30, temporary protection orders have been issued for the Koksilah River, West Kettle, Bessette Creek and the Salmon River.
Drought conditions in B.C. range from level 0 to 5, with 5 being the most severe where adverse impacts to socioeconomic or ecosystem values are almost certain.
The Kettle River watershed, Salmon River watershed, as well as west and east Vancouver Island, are currently in Drought Level 5. Some smaller watersheds in the Thompson-Okanagan region are showing signs of being at Drought Level 5 as well.
Regions under Drought Level 4 include North and South Thompson basins, Okanagan basin, Coldwater River and Nicola River watersheds, Lower Columbia and West Kootenay basins, as well as the Lower Mainland and South Coast basins.
Regions under Drought Level 3 include the Similkameen, Cariboo/Chilcotin and Skagit watersheds. Several local streams in the Similkameen and Cariboo/Chilcotin areas are experiencing greater impacts.
Eleven other watershed basins in B.C. are currently under either Drought Level 2 or 1.
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