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Drought has government asking people to reduce water use

The Kamloops area is under Drought Level 3. B.C. ranks drought levels from 0 to 5. Drought Level 5 is rated as the most severe.
drought graph

Drought is affecting much of British Columbia, including the Kamloops area, with the public asked to reduce their water use by 30 per cent.

The Kamloops area just experienced the second-driest meteorological spring (10.3 millimetres in March, April and May, about 20 per cent of normal) on record, followed by an extreme heat wave that saw the highest temperature ever recorded — 47.3 C on June 30.

As a result, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development said there is water scarcity and low flows.

In the Thompson-Okanagan region, water users in all areas are asked to reduce their water use by 30 per cent.

Areas subject to a request for further curtailment will receive notices via email or mail.

Locally, the North and South Thompson basins are under Dough Level 3, as are waterways in the Okanagan, Lower Mainland and Cariboo/Chilcotin.

Regional waterways under Drought Level 4 include the Salmon River, Coldwater River and Nicola River watersheds in the Thompson-Okanagan.

Drought Level 5 is the the most severe level, with adverse impacts to socioeconomic or ecosystem values being almost certain.

Twelve other watershed basins in B.C. are either under Drought Level 2 or Drought Level 1.

Irrigators, water licensees and water users in watersheds experiencing water scarcity should prepare and plan in case additional targeted local water restrictions or provincial temporary protection orders under the Water Sustainability Act are required as the summer progresses.

How to reduce water use

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 taps running.

• Install water-efficient showerheads, taps and toilets.

On the farm

• Implement an irrigation scheduling program.

• 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.