Continuing dry conditions and dropping water levels have prompted the province to announce a Level 3 drought rating for the East Peace region.
Level 3 drought conditions call for voluntary water use reductions of 30% from all surface water and groundwater users, including residents, industry, farmers and municipalities.
While some streams have normal flows, a number of streams are experiencing very low flows. Because weather forecasts are for insufficient precipitation to recharge streams, stream levels are expected to continue to drop, causing impacts for water users, fish and ecosystems. Ministry staff are closely monitoring stream levels and ecosystems, and may upgrade the drought level if the weather continues to have a negative effect on stream flows and water supplies.
As conditions deteriorate, provincial water managers may exercise their authority to temporarily suspend authorized water use in affected watersheds and aquifers.
Local water conservation bylaws may differ from provincial water conservation targets, due to local water supply and demand, and the availability of storage (lakes and reservoirs) or groundwater. Residential, agricultural and industrial water users who are located within municipalities and regional districts are encouraged to observe local water conservation bylaws where they exist.
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:
- Limit outdoor watering.
- Don’t water during the heat of the day or when it’s windy.
- Consider planting drought-tolerant vegetation.
- Take shorter showers.
- Don’t leave the tap running.
- Install water-efficient showerheads and toilets.
On the farm:
- Implement an irrigation-scheduling program using real-time weather data.
- 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.
- Reduce non-essential water usage.
- Recycle water used in industrial operations.
- Use water-efficient methods and equipment.