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Drought, water scarcity conditions affect B.C.

VICTORIA – Drought and water scarcity continues to affect the west coast, south coast and northeastern areas of B.C. that have experienced little to no rainfall over the past five weeks with continued dry weather in the forecast.

Areas under Drought Level 4 include the Fort Nelson basin, the Sunshine Coast basin, Lower Mainland basin, and the east and west Vancouver Island basins. At Drought Level 4, conditions are extremely dry and adverse effects to socio-economic or ecosystem values are likely.

Drought is a recurring feature of climate that involves reduced precipitation, such as rain, during an extended period, resulting in a water shortage.

Regions under Drought Level 3 include the eastern pacific range basin, Coldwater River basin, Kettle basin, and the South Peace, North Peace and East Peace basins. At Drought Level 3, conditions are becoming severely dry. Potentially serious ecosystem or socio-economic effects are possible in some circumstances.

All 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, with Drought Level 5 rated as the most severe with adverse effects to socio-economic or ecosystem values being almost certain.

All water users in drought levels 3 and 4 are asked to reduce their water use whenever possible. All British Columbians need to observe watering restrictions from their local or regional government, water utility provider or irrigation district. For information, contact the local or regional government, water utility provider or irrigation district of where you reside.

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 monitoring the situation and working to balance water use 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, if you are under an evacuation order due to wildfire, you must leave the area immediately.

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