KAMLOOPS — Don't overdo it with your water consumption.
Today the provincial government announced a Level 4 drought rating for the South Thompson, Kettle and Granby watersheds due to continuing warm and dry conditions.
As a result, the Province is urging all surface water and groundwater users, including residents, industry, farmers and municipalities, to voluntarily reduce their use.
"Recent precipitation in the southern Interior has not been substantial enough to recharge streams," reads a statement from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. "With a forecast of continued dry conditions, stream flows are expected to continue to drop, providing additional stress for fish and ecosystems, as well as reducing water supplies for users."
The ministry adds the stream flows are "approaching critical environment low-flow thresholds for fish populations, including spawning kokanee, chinook and sockeye salmon in the South Thompson watershed, and rainbow and brown trout in the Kettle and Granby watersheds."
A Salmon, Similkameen, Nicola and Coldwater watersheds already reached Drought Level 4 earlier in the season.
If voluntary reductions in water consumption levels aren't sufficient to maintain river flows, the ministry warns it may consider regulating water usage under the Water Sustainability Act.
The help limit water usage, the ministry say people can take a number of steps including limiting outdoor watering, taking shorter showers and not leaving the tap running. Farmers can help by implementing an irrigation scheduling program using real-time weather data and industry can do their part by reducing non-essential water use.
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