June 28, 2016 - 12:00 PM
VICTORIA - Low rainfall and record-high temperatures have prompted British Columbia to issue its highest drought alert for residents across southern and eastern Vancouver Island.
The province is asking people to conserve water as much as possible because of extremely dry conditions that will force the closure of the sports fishery across much of the southern island between July 1 and Sept. 1.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations says the alert comes five days earlier than the one it issued last year, when the drought conditions lasted until September.
The ministry's water stewardship manager Valerie Cameron says the River Forecast Centre analyzes conditions such as stream levels and snowpack that would melt into reservoirs and saturate dry soil.
She says significant rainfall that would normally be seen in the fall is needed to "turn things around," but it's not in the forecast for Vancouver Island, which is typically warm and dry during summer.
Cameron says the province is asking everyone in that area, including industry, farmers and municipalities, to voluntarily conserve the maximum amount of water so it does not have to regulate water usage.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016