KAMLOOPS - As hot, dry weather continues to make an impact in the North and South Thompson, the provincial government is urging residents to restrict water use.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources, and Rural Development says in a news release there are Level 3 drought conditions in the North and South Thompson regions.
All water users, including residents, industry, farmers, and municipalities, are being urged to reduce water consumption by 30 per cent.
In both the North and South Thompson drainages, some streams have healthy flows, while a number of salmon streams are experiencing problematic flows, the minister says.
Due to the problems for fish being created by these conditions, water users should reduce consumption for areas including Bessette Creek in the South Thompson and Lemieux Creek in the North Thompson.
The province says these streams provide significant aquatic ecosystems, and there could potentially be significant or irreversible harm to the ecosystems if stream flows drop below environmental flow thresholds.
Ministry staff are monitoring river levels and may upgrade the drought level if the weather continues to have a negative impact on stream flows and water supply.
Water users in the regions are reminded to make sure water intakes are screened to Fisheries and Oceans Canada standards to prevent fish from being pulled into water systems as water levels drop. Low water levels can impede the passage of salmon, increase susceptibility of fish to disease, and cause fish stranding or death.
The province says water users in municipalities and regional districts are encouraged to obey local water conservation bylaws where they exist.
Residential water users are being asked to limit outdoor watering, avoid watering during the heat of the day or when it's windy, conside planting drought-tolerant vegetation, take shorter showers, don't leave the tap running, and install water-efficient showerheads, taps, and toilets.
Farmers are asked to implement an irrigation scheduling program using real-time weather data, schedule irrigation to match crop needs and soil storage capacity, improve water system efficiencies and check for leaks, and focus on high-value crops and livestock.
Industrial water users are asked to reduce non-essential water use, recycle water used in industrial operations, and use water-efficient methods and equipment.
For more information on B.C. drought, go here.
For the government's drough response plan, go here.
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