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

Just Posted

Tofino Hatchery wraps up successful season

“If you give those things half a chance, they will go to the ‘nth degree’ to get up those rivers.”

Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News earns four national awards

The Westerly was announced as the recipient of four Canadian Community Newspaper Awards last week.

Culture provides authentic means to education for Ahousaht and Klemtu students

Tying lessons into a real-world scenario creates a more significant and community-based classroom

Tofino police believe alcohol was a factor in Thursday night car crash

The crash knocked out power to the community from 6:44-10:01 p.m

Ucluelet Secondary School Class of 2019 embark on a new chapter

School will host graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 15 at 2 p.m.

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Most Read