Water conservation urged as drought levels increase in interior regions of BC
VICTORIA – Responding to continuing warm and dry conditions, the Province has announced a Level 4 drought rating for the Similkameen, Nicola, and Salmon River watersheds, while a Level 3 drought rating has been set for the Okanagan watershed.
The Province is urging all surface water and groundwater users, including residents, industry, farmers and municipalities, to voluntarily reduce water consumption. A Level 4 drought rating recommends maximum reduction of water use, while a Level 3 drought rating calls for reducing water use by 30%.
With continued warm, dry weather in the forecast, stream flows are expected to continue to drop, providing additional stress for fish as well as reducing water supplies for water users.
The Province has elevated the Similkameen, Nicola, and Salmon watersheds to Drought Level 4 because conditions are extremely dry and stream flows are approaching critical environmental low flow thresholds for fish populations, including Chinook salmon.
In the Okanagan watershed, while some streams and lakes have adequate flows, a number of streams are experiencing low flows that are that are impacting water users and fish, including returning adult salmon.