Some streams are approaching critical flow levels, due to dropping water levels and a period of warm weather. (Peninsula News Review File)

Province calls on Islanders to conserve water immediately

Some streams approaching critical levels, threatening salmon and fish

The B.C. provincial government has announced a Level 3 drought rating for Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, calling on residents to voluntarily conserve water.

The rating comes amid dropping water levels and ahead of an expected period of warm and dry weather, next week. Level 3 drought conditions call for voluntary water-use reductions for all surface water and groundwater users, including industry, farmers and municipalities.

ALSO READ: Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

B.C. say that while some streams on Vancouver Island, especially those backed by storage reservoirs, are flowing at acceptable levels, several important salmon streams are approaching a critical point for ecosystems and fish, including juvenile trout and salmon. The environmental conditions and level of flow, are being closely monitored in case specific action is needed to protect fish within the streams.

The province warns that if voluntary reductions of water use are not enough to boost flows above critical levels, it is possible they will use powers under the Water Sustainability Act to regulate water usage. This could include temporarily suspending water licences or short-term water approvals, to restore flows to minimum critical levels in the affected streams. Before that happens, the Ministry is appealing to water users to conserve water and to let people clearly know what the alternative will be if critically affected streams’ flow levels do not improve.

Water intakes are screened to Fisheries and Oceans Canada standards on all the islands, in order to prevent fish from being pulled into water systems as water levels drop. Low water levels can prevent the passage of salmon and increase their susceptibility to disease or death, due to low oxygen and warm water temperatures.

ALSO READ: Duck, duck, loose – how to help ducks stay safe on our roads

“Local water conservation bylaws may differ from provincial water conservation targets due to local supply and demand, and the availability of storage in lakes, reservoirs or groundwater,” the province said in a statement. “Residential, agricultural and industrial water users who are located within municipalities and regional districts are encouraged to observe local water conservation bylaws where they exist.”

They remind citizens that water conservation is “everyone’s responsibility.”

It is believed that many communities in B.C. have drought management plans but people are reminded of action they can take to help.

At home:

  • Limit outdoor watering.
  • Do not water during the heat of the day or when it is windy.
  • Consider planting drought-tolerant vegetation.
  • Take shorter showers.
  • Do not leave the tap running.
  • Install water-efficient showerheads, taps and toilets.

On the farm:

  • 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.

In industry:

  • Reduce non-essential water use.
  • Recycle water used in industrial operations.
  • Use water-efficient methods and equipment.

For more information visit governmentofbc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Citizen birders contribute to 120th annual Christmas Bird Count

Species tallied in Campbell River, Cortes and Quadra Islands and Port McNeill

Campbell River Museum hits the 15 year mark for its Used Book Sale

Book donations are now being accepted and can be brought to the Museum’s back door off of 4th Ave

Have your say on the regional composting facility in Campbell River

CSWM launches online survey, will host two public engagements at Maritime Heritage Centre

What Campbell River got up to on your ‘Snow Day’ last week

We asked people to send us photos of what they were doing last Thursday after the big dump of snow

Model railroaders bring life-long passion for their hobby to annual Campbell River show

Annual train show coming to Museum of Campbell River on Jan. 25-26

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

University of Victoria tells stories of Holocaust survivors with graphic novels

International storytelling initiative launched first meetings this winter

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Most Read