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Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations of British Columbia

07/22/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/22/2021 14:06

Vancouver Island drought, water-scarcity conditions

Drought continues to impact eastern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

Most areas have recorded no rainfall for more than five weeks, with continued dry weather in the forecast.

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.

Eastern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands remain at Drought Level 4, where adverse impacts on fish and ecosystems are likely. Water shortages in several private groundwater wells have also been reported. Areas with high risks of additional impacts from water scarcity include, but are not limited to, the following watershed areas:

  • The majority of the Gulf Islands
  • Fulford Creek on Salt Spring Island
  • Tetayut (Sandhill) Creek on the Saanich Peninsula
  • Koksilah River
  • Chemainus River
  • Millstone River
  • French Creek
  • Tsolum River
  • Black Creek

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 across the region need to reduce their water use wherever possible and observe all watering restrictions from their local/regional government or water utility provider. 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.

General water conservation tips:

At home:

  • Limit outdoor watering.
  • Do not water during the heat of the day or when it is windy.
  • Consider planting drought-tolerant vegetation.
  • Take shorter showers.
  • Do not leave taps running.
  • Install water-efficient showerheads, taps and toilets.

On the farm:

  • Implement an irrigation scheduling program.
  • Schedule irrigation to match crop needs and soil storage capacity.
  • Improve water system efficiencies and check for leaks.
  • Focus on high-value crops and livestock.

Industry:

  • Reduce non-essential water use.
  • Recycle water used in industrial operations.
  • Use water-efficient methods and equipment.

Learn More:

Drought portal (maps, tables):
https://governmentofbc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=838d533d8062411c820eef50b08f7ebc

Drought information:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/water/drought-flooding-dikes-dams/drought-information

Freshwater sportfishing regulations and angling closures:
www.gov.bc.ca/fishingregulations

River Forecast Centre:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/water/drought-flooding-dikes-dams/river-forecast-centre

Drought and agriculture:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/agricultural-land-and-environment/water/drought-in-agriculture