The east and south Island’s drought rating has increased to the maximum Level 4 because of enduring hot and dry conditions.
Water conservation is not being regulated at this time, but the province is suggesting maximum water conservation by taking shorter showers and limiting outdoor watering only to the early morning or late evening.
A number of streams (the Koksilah, Chemainus, San Juan and Salmon rivers) on the Island are at, or near, record lows for the first time this year.
If voluntary water conservation isn’t enough to maintain water flows in those streams above critical levels, the province may have to begin regulating water usage.
The action could include temporary suspension of water licences or short-term water approvals to restore flows to minimum critical levels in the impacted streams.
The lower water levels can stop the passage of salmon and increases their susceptibility to disease because of a lack of oxygen and high water temperatures. The Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resources will be keeping an eye on the overall ecosystem and health of the fish.
The west side of the Island remains at Level 3 but the Province says it will be reassessed as the hot weather continues.