Drought warning issued for eastern Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands

The province issued a warning about drought and “water scarcity conditions” Thursday for eastern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

Most areas have recorded no rainfall for more than five weeks, with continued dry weather in the forecast.

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“Water conservation is everyone’s responsibility,” the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development said in a statement.

“Everyone needs to do their part to conserve water resources, to reduce the risk of impacts on the environment and other water users.”

Eastern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands remain at drought level 4, where adverse impacts on fish and ecosystems are likely.

Water shortages in several private groundwater wells have also been reported.

British Columbia ranks drought levels from 0 to 5. Drought level 5 is rated as the most severe, with adverse impacts to “socioeconomic or ecosystem values being almost certain.”

Areas with high risks of water scarcity include:

• The majority of the Gulf Islands

• Fulford Creek on Salt Spring Island

• Tetayut (Sandhill) Creek on the Saanich Peninsula

• Koksilah River

• Chemainus River

• Millstone River

• French Creek

• Tsolum River

• Black Creek

The ministry said all water users need to reduce their use wherever possible and observe watering restrictions from their local governments or water utility provider.

It added that if conservation measures do not achieve sufficient results and drought conditions worsen, temporary protection orders under the Water Sustainability Act may be issued to water licensees to avoid significant or irreversible harm to aquatic ecosystems.

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