The province is restricting some water use on the Koksilah river near Duncan after Ministry biologists determined current flow levels are so low that habitat conditions are severely degraded and fish populations may be threatened.
“From now until Sept. 30, 2019, specified licences that authorize water use directly from the Koksilah River and its tributaries, and users of wells in aquifers that are hydraulically connected to the river, must cease all diversion and use of water for industrial purposes and for irrigation of forage crops, such as hay and corn,” a notice from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development reads.
Ministry biologists have determined that the flow of water in the river south of Duncan has dropped below 180 litres per second and may be trending downwards,
“By restricting water use for irrigation of forage crops, such as hay and corn, but allowing water use for stock watering and irrigation of perennial crops and vegetables, water flows should be restored to a level sufficient to maintain fish populations while minimizing effects on users, such as the agricultural sector.”
Ministry staff will be conducting compliance checks in the Koksilah River watershed. It says the river supports “significant aquatic ecosystems and fish species, including steelhead, coho salmon and trout. These fish populations are important to local First Nations and provide economic benefits.”