07/22/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/22/2021 14:17
Drought and water scarcity continues to impact most of the southern half of British Columbia.
Most of these areas have experienced little to no rainfall over the last five weeks, with continued dry weather in the forecast.
Many freshwater angling closures are also in place throughout B.C., due to increased stress to fish from low flows and high water temperatures.
Water conservation is everyone's responsibility. Everyone needs to do their part to conserve water resources, to reduce the risk of impacts on the environment and other water users.
Areas currently under Drought Level 4 include:
In these areas, adverse impacts of drought on people, fish or ecosystems are likely.
Regions currently under Drought Level 3 include the entire Okanagan Valley, Similkameen, South Coast and Lower Mainland, Cariboo/Chilcotin, North and South Thompson Basins and parts of Western Vancouver Island. Of note, several local streams on the Sunshine Coast, Lower Mainland, Okanagan and Cariboo/Quesnel within these broad areas are experiencing greater impacts.
Twelve other watershed basins in B.C. are either under Drought Level 2 or Drought Level 1. British Columbia ranks drought levels from 0 to 5. Drought Level 5 is rated as the most severe, with adverse impacts to socioeconomic or ecosystem values being almost certain.
All water users in affected areas need to reduce their water use wherever possible and observe all watering restrictions from their local/regional government, water utility provider or irrigation district.
If conservation measures do not achieve sufficient results and drought conditions worsen, temporary protection orders under the Water Sustainability Act may be issued to water licensees, to avoid significant or irreversible harm to aquatic ecosystems. Provincial staff are actively monitoring the situation and working to balance water uses with environmental flow needs.
Note that water use to extinguish a fire or contain and control the spread of a fire remains exempt from a provincial water licence or approval. However, people under an evacuation order due to wildfire must leave the area immediately.
General water conservation tips:
On the farm:
Drought portal (maps, tables):
Freshwater sportfishing regulations and angling closures: