After almost a month of being placed on Level 3 drought advisory, Vancouver Island and BC’s South Coast have officially progressed to a Level 4 hydrological drought rating.

This means that the water supply is officially not enough to meet “socio-economic and ecosystem needs”.

Besides, Vancouver Island, the parts of BC that are classified at this extreme level include the Northeast, Northwest, Stikine and Skeena-Nass areas.

Meanwhile, the Lower Columbia, West Kootenay, East Kootenay, Middle Fraser (Cariboo), Nicola, Coldwater River, Salmon River, South Thompson, Skagit and Nechako areas are currently under Level 3 drought advisory.

(Drought classification infographic/Government of BC)

This widespread scarcity of water is a result of record breaking hot and dry conditions across the province.

However, the fact that this weather has also caused the spread of hundreds of wildfires means that individuals and organizations are authorized to use water from streams, lakes or aquifers to extinguish a fire, under the Water Sustainability Act.

(Drought map/Government of BC)

But if there aren’t any fires to put out, here are some water conservation tips to follow:

At home:

  • limit outdoor watering
  • do not water during the heat of the day or when it is windy
  • consider planting drought-tolerant vegetation
  • take shorter showers
  • do not leave the tap running (i.e. while brushing teeth)
  • install water-efficient showerheads, taps and toilets

On the farm:

  • implement an irrigation scheduling program using real-time weather data
  • schedule irrigation to match crop needs and soil storage capacity
  • improve water system efficiencies and check for leaks
  • focus on high-value crops and livestock

Industry:

  • reduce non-essential water use
  • recycle water used in industrial operations
  • use water-efficient methods and equipment

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