The province has issued a level three drought warning for much of the west coast, including all of Vancouver Island, as streams dry up and temperatures ricochet up into the mid-30s.
In a bulletin issued Monday, the government said the warning applies to the entire coast, from the Alaska border to the Lower Mainland. The Skeena Nass and Stikine basins, Haida Gwaii, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands are all included.
A level three drought calls for voluntary water use reductions from municipal, agricultural and industrial users.
The province has identified a number of important fish bearing streams on Vancouver Island that are approaching low flow at a critical level, including the Koksilah, Chemainus, San Juan and Salmon Rivers. Maximum water conservation is encouraged in these and other low-flow watersheds.
Although restrictions are currently voluntary, if officials see river and creek levels drop, they may suspend water licences or short-term water approvals to restore flows to minimum critical levels in the affected streams. If streams get too low, it can hurt any salmon or other wildlife living there.
People can save water in a few ways:
- 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 shower heads, taps and toilets