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British Columbia boundary residents urged to conserve water

Staff Writer | August 17, 2018
Extremely warm and dry conditions have prompted British Columbia to set a Level 3 drought rating for the south Boundary region, including the Kettle and Granby rivers.
British Columbia drought
Canada   Level 3 drought conditions call for voluntary water-use reductions
While the region experienced serious flooding in the spring, the lack of precipitation since early July has caused streams to drop significantly, putting fish stocks and ecosystems at risk.

Level 3 drought conditions call for voluntary water-use reductions from all surface-water and groundwater users, including municipal, agricultural and industrial users.

The Province has identified a number of fish-bearing streams in the Kettle Valley that are approaching critical environmental flow thresholds for ecosystems and fish. Maximum water conservation is encouraged in these and other low-flow watersheds.

Angling closures are in effect on the Kettle River system from July 25 to Aug. 25, 2018. Ministry staff will continue to monitor river levels and fish populations and may extend the regulated closures for angling, depending on conditions.

If voluntary reductions of water use are not sufficient to maintain flows above critical levels, the ministry may consider regulating water usage under the Water Sustainability Act. Specific actions could include the temporary suspension of water licences or short-term water approvals to restore flows to minimum critical levels in the affected streams.

Water users on all streams are reminded to ensure that 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 to disease or cause stranding or death due to low oxygen and high water temperatures.

Local municipal water conservation bylaws may differ from provincial water conservation targets, due to local water supply and demand, and the availability of storage (lakes and reservoirs) or groundwater. 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.

Water conservation is everyone’s responsibility. Many communities in B.C. are prepared to deal with water supply shortages and low-stream flow conditions, and have drought management plans and water conservation programs already in place.