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Drought rating increased in Okanagan

Osoyoos Lake
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Okanagan Basin Water Board/Dan Millar
September 01, 2017 - 4:28 PM

OKANAGAN - As the hot and dry weather continues throughout the Okanagan, the drought rating has been increased.

The B.C. Government has declared a Level Three drought rating for the Okanagan today, Sept. 1, according to a media release.

Kelowna broke a record for the least summer rainfall between June and August, the Okanagan Basin Water Board says in a drought bulletin. There was only 7.3 mm of rain over the three months. Penticton and Vernon are not far behind and it is likely those cities will break dryness records as well soon. Kelowna broke high temperature records in July and August.

Weather conditions are expected to stay above normal into October with uncertain amounts of rain, officials say, pointing out conditions across Western North America range between abnormally dry to extreme drought.

The Water Board says thanks to the record-breaking spring rainfall, big lake and upper-watershed reservoirs have normal levels, but in important fish streams, there are low flows and warm water which are harmful to fish. In some cases streams have gone dry.

Drought Level 3 calls for a voluntary 30 per cent reduction in water use, but most Okanagan water utilities are currently experiencing normal water supply. It's the small water purveyors that are impacted by the drought conditions.

The province is asking independent licensees on streams and groundwater users on aquifers connected to stream to reduce water withdrawls.

The Water Board is encouraging everyone in the Okanagan to conserve water.

For more information the drought levels and streamflows go to the B.C. Drought Information Portal here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Taylor Rae or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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