August 18, 2016 - 2:30 PM
MERRITT - The Coldwater River system is approaching drought conditions.
The river system is nearing Level 4, the highest rating in B.C.'s drought system, according to a government press release, also known as “extremely dry.”
Surface and groundwater users are being asked to reduce their consumption by 30 per cent as part of the B.C. Drought Response Plan. Water intakes from the river should have screens to make sure fish don’t enter the water systems.
The river system’s levels are expected to continue to drop with the continued hot and dry weather predicted for the region. The water levels have stayed low this summer as the river’s headwaters are in an area that hasn’t seen the rain other rivers have.
The low waters are a risk to chinook salmon currently spawning in the river system, because the lack of water can impede their travel. Fish can be stranded or die because of a lack of oxygen in the water or high temperatures.
With the potential for loss of fish stock, the government is also warning there may be partial or complete closure for recreational fishing.
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource staff are continuing to monitor the situation.
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