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

Water

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

Just Posted

From left to right: Mark Walter, BJ Gillis, Kyle Munro and Danny Gillis of the Alberni Valley Disc Golf Club stand beside one of the newly-installed baskets at Dry Creek Park. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Disc golf expands to Port Alberni’s Dry Creek Park

New 18-hole course will be ready to play by spring of 2021

A Trio of Roses (CYNTHIA BONESKY)
ARTS AROUND: Stop and smell the flowers at the Rollin Art Centre

Next exhibit features Port Alberni artists Cynthia Bonesky and Jan Vriesen

PanAmour, featuring some familiar Port Alberni faces, will perform online via Zoom Oct. 30, 2020 at Char’s Landing. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Cure the blues with PanAmour at Char’s Landing

Tickets for virtual concert available online

Pat Lauder laughs as car after car pass his home on Josephine Street and honk, the drivers shouting birthday greetings. Lauder turns 80 this year. Oct. 22, 2020 ((SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Hupacasath First Nation elder feted with family parade in Port Alberni

Pat Lauder celebrates 80 years in socially-distanced style

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

An arrest warrant has been issued for Brian Thomas, of Nanaimo, who is accused of throwing a “spear-like object” at a vehicle. (Photo submitted)
Warrant out for Nanaimo man who allegedly threw ‘spear-like object’ at vehicle

Brian Thomas failed to make court appearance, say RCMP

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Most Read