July 27, 2015 - 3:37 PM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Extremely dry conditions and low stream flows have forced the province to raise the drought level in four areas of the southern Interior today.
A Level 4 drought rating has been announced for the South Thompson, Similkameen, Kettle and Skagit areas, July 27.
Further declines in stream, lake and aquifer levels could lead to water shortages and affect people and industry such as agriculture, wildlife, and fish stocks, according to a Government of B.C. media release. All water users are urged to maximize their water conservation efforts.
A Level 4 drought advisory allows regional water managers to take additional actions deem necessary to conserve water. Any such actions will be specific to individual stream conditions and could include the temporary suspension of water licences or short-term water approvals in affected watersheds, the province says.
Although residential, agricultural and industrial users within municipalities and regional districts backed by reservoir storage are less vulnerable to water supply shortages than water users served by smaller water systems from streams, lakes and wells, all water users are encouraged to observe local water conservation bylaws.
Water users are also reminded to ensure water intakes are screened to prevent fish from being pulled into water systems as water levels drop. Low water levels can impede the passage of salmon to spawning grounds, increase susceptibility to disease, or cause stranding or death due to low oxygen and high water temperatures.
Drought ratings for the South Thompson, Similkameen, Kettle and Skagit areas were raised to Level 3 on July 10 and the Okanagan remains at Level 3 at this time.
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