KAMLOOPS - Residents must reduce their water consumption because the province announced level four drought rating in the South Thompson.
This drought rating recommends a maximum reduction of water use from all surface water and groundwater users, including residents, industry, farmers and municipalities, according to a Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development release issued yesterday, Sept. 8.
The Southern Interior has had some rain, however, it was not enough to recharge the streams. Forecasters are predicting the dry weather to continue. This will affect stream flows which will continue to drop, adding stress to fish and the ecosystem.
The ministry states in the release that conditions are extremely dry and stream flows are approaching critical environmental low-flow thresholds for fish populations, including spawning kokanee, chinook and sockeye salmon in the South Thompson watershed, and rainbow and brown trout in the Kettle and Granby watersheds.
The Salmon, Similkameen, Nicola and Coldwater watersheds already reached drought level four earlier in the season.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development says the Water Sustainability Act may be used to regulate water usage if voluntary reductions of water are not sufficient to maintain flows above critical levels. Actions taken to restore flows could include the temporary suspension of water licences or short-term water approvals. To encourage water conservation and potential regulation, ministry staff are contacting water users in critical watersheds.
Local bylaws might be different from provincial targets because of local water supply and demand. The availability of water storage such as lakes and reservoirs or groundwater.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development encourages residential, agricultural and industrial water users to follow water conservation bylaws and they say water conservation is everyone's responsibility.
Drought management plans and water conservation programs are in place in many B.C. communities to deal with water shortages and low stream flow conditions.
Water conservation tips at home include:
Limit outdoor watering.
Don't water during the heat of the day or when it's windy.
Consider planting drought-tolerant vegetation.
Take shorter showers.
Don't leave the tap running.
Install water-efficient showerheads, taps and toilets.
To conserve water on the farm you can:
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.
Focus on high-value crops and livestock.
Water conservation tips for the industry include:
Reduce non-essential water use.
Recycle water used in industrial operations.
Use water-efficient methods and equipment.
To learn more at the 2017 B.C. Drought Information Portal, click here.
Follow the link to learn more about the B.C. Drought Response Plan.
To learn more about B.C. Drought and Agriculture, click here.
For more information on the Level 4 drought rating for the South Thompson, Kettle and Granby watersheds follow the links.
The South Thompson watershed and Shuswap River near Enderby.
Kettle River near Westbridge.
Granby River at Grand Forks.
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.
We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above.