All of Vancouver Island hits highest drought rating due to dry, hot weather
Record-breaking heat has pushed Vancouver Island and other parts of B.C. into the highest drought classification available.
All of Vancouver Island as well as the northeast, northwest, Sitkine and Skeena-Nass regions of B.C. have moved to a Level 4 drought rating, the Ministry of Forests announced Friday.
According to the province, Level 4 means that water supply in the affected regions is insufficient to meet socio-economic and ecosystem needs.
Voluntary conservation and restrictions may be in place for those areas. A map of the affected regions is available online.
"As drought levels increase, maximum voluntary water conservation is strongly encouraged to maintain water supplies," the ministry said in a release. "The Province has the ability to regulate water usage, including temporary suspension of water licences or short-term water approvals, should it become necessary, to protect flows for fish and for priority water users."
Municipalities may have their own water conservation bylaws depending on local supply, and residents are encouraged to check with their local government to find out if such restrictions exist.
The Capital Regional District, which comprises 13 municipalities and three electoral areas on southern Vancouver Island, is in Stage 1 water conservation rules, which encourages residents to reduce outdoor water use.
Up in the Cowichan Valley, Stage 3 water restrictions are in effect—which permits hand-watering and micro-drip irrigation lines only.
Further north in the cities of Nanaimo and Lantzville, Stage 2 watering restrictions are in effect until September, but the nearby Decourcey and North Cedar service areas are under Stage 3 restrictions.
Parksville and Nanoose Bay are under Stage 3 restrictions, while Qualicum Beach remains under Stage 1 restrictions.
Stage 2 restrictions are in effect for the entire Comox Valley Regional District, which includes Courtenay and Comox.
The province has issued a general reminder to British Columbians in drought-stricken areas to do their part by limiting outdoor watering, taking shorter showers, be mindful of how long they run taps for, and ensure irrigation and plumbing systems are well-maintained and not leaking.