Responding to continuing dry conditions, the provincial government has initiated a level four drought rating for the Okanagan region.
This brings the Okanagan region to the same drought level classification as the South Thompson, Similkameen, Kettle and Skagit areas, which were raised to level four July 27.
“At level four, conditions are extremely dry. Further declines in stream, lake and aquifer levels could lead to water shortages and affect people, industry such as agriculture, wildlife and fish stocks. All water users, including those who access groundwater, are urged to maximize their water conservation efforts,” states a government release.
The establishment of a level four drought advisory, signals that regional water managers may take additional regulatory actions if they are deemed necessary. Any such actions will be site specific depending on individual stream conditions.”
Specific actions could include the temporary suspension of water licences or short-term water approvals in affected watersheds if necessary. Ministry water management staff will continue to monitor conditions, work closely with First Nations, local governments and key stakeholders, and provide updates as the need arises.
“Although residential, agricultural and industrial users within municipalities and regional districts backed by reservoir storage are less vulnerable to water supply shortages than water users served by smaller water systems from streams, lakes and wells, all water users are encouraged to observe local water conservation bylaws to prolong water supplies and to maintain flows for fish and ecosystems,” states the government.