WATCH: There is a possibility of showers in this weekend’s forecast. But Vancouver Island, and the rest of B.C., need days of rain to relieve the drought conditions. And as the month of August winds down, the province says this may wind up being the driest year on record. Mary Griffin reports.
Vancouver Island is short of water and is experiencing one of the driest summers on record.
Valerie Cameron, water stewardship manager with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations says the conditions are similar to 2015 when the entire province experienced a record drought.
“Right now we are at about the same level on Vancouver Island as we were in 2015,” Cameron said.
Last week, the only part of the province with a level four drought rating, the driest, was southeast Vancouver Island.
Now this summer’s drought encompasses all of the island and much of northern B.C.
“We’re seeing unprecedented drought levels across the rest of the province,” Cameron said. “This is the first time when I’ve seen no part of the province is experiencing normal conditions right now.”
At least 13 streams on the island are dry, which is impacting fish and ecosystems. Communities most at risk don’t have reservoirs or lake storage. The Gulf Islands, including Saltspring Island, are particularly vulnerable and some water users are starting to haul water.
“We’ve heard reports of water utilities having wells running dry. So the impacts can be pretty serious,” Cameron said.
It’s not likely to change anytime soon, says Andrew Weaver, leader of B.C.’s Green Party and a professor in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria.
“We are in a trend and a transition that is continually changing. So there is no normal yet. We’ve got much more in store down the road. Much, much more.”