Most of eastern Vancouver Island goes five weeks without rain, remains at drought level four

B.C. government photo
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Many areas on eastern Vancouver Island have not seen rain for over five weeks. With continued dry conditions in the forecast, the province is encouraging residents to do their part to conserve water.

“Water conservation is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone needs to do their part to conserve water resources, to reduce the risk of impacts on the environment and other water users,” reads a news release from the province.

Eastern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands remain at drought level four, where adverse impacts on fish and ecosystems are likely. Water shortages in several private groundwater wells have also been reported, according to the province. Areas with high risks of additional impacts from water scarcity include, but are not limited to:

  • The majority of the Gulf Islands
  • Fulford Creek on Salt Spring Island
  • Tetayut (Sandhill) Creek on the Saanich Peninsula
  • Koksilah River
  • Chemainus River
  • Millstone River
  • French Creek
  • Tsolum River
  • Black Creek

B.C. ranks drought levels from zero to five — drought level five is rated as the most severe, with adverse impacts to socioeconomic or ecosystem values being almost certain.

“All water users across the region need to reduce their water use wherever possible and observe all watering restrictions from their local/regional government or water utility provider,” reads the release.

If conservation measures do not achieve sufficient results and drought conditions worsen, temporary protection orders under the Water Sustainability Act may be issued to water licensees to avoid significant or irreversible harm to aquatic ecosystems. 

The province said it is actively monitoring the situation and working to balance water uses with environmental flow needs and provided general water conservation tips:

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 taps running.
  • Install water-efficient shower heads, taps and toilets.

On the farm:

  • Implement an irrigation scheduling program.
  • 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.

Industry:

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