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Fort Nelson residents urged to conserve water

FORT NELSON – Below-normal stream flows and signs of drought in smaller streams have caused the province to declare a Level 3 drought rating for the Fort Nelson area.

Level 3 drought conditions call for voluntary water-use reductions from all surface water and groundwater users. This applies to residents, industry, farmers and municipalities.

If voluntary reductions of water use do not maintain flows above critical levels, the Province may consider regulating water usage under the Water Sustainability Act. Specific actions could include temporarily suspending water licences or short-term water approvals to restore flows to minimum critical levels in the affected streams.

Water users on all streams are reminded to ensure that water intakes are screened to Fisheries and Oceans Canada standards to prevent fish from being pulled into water systems as water levels drop. Low water levels can prevent the passage of fish species and make them more susceptible to disease or death due to low oxygen and warmer water temperatures.

Local water conservation bylaws may differ from provincial water conservation targets due to local water supply and demand, and the availability of storage in lakes, 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 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 the tap running (i.e., while brushing teeth)

* Install water-efficient showerheads, taps 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.

In industry:

* Reduce non-essential water use.

* Recycle water used in industrial operations.

* Use water-efficient methods and equipment.

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