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Vancouver Island water restrictions lifted after 'significant rainfall' helps restore fish habitat

After significant rainfall in some regions of Vancouver Island, the British Columbia government is rescinding water restrictions for the Koksilah and Tsolum river watersheds.

The province announced Wednesday that the temporary fish protection orders had ended effective immediately, allowing industrial and agriculture water use to resume.

"Significant rainfall has restored the streamflows of the Koksilah and Tsolum rivers to levels that no longer threaten steelhead trout populations," the Ministry of Forests said in a news release.

"Fish protection orders, with the co-operation and compliance of affected water users, have successfully improved critical threats to the survival of steelhead trout populations."

The ministry said water licence holders who were affected by the temporary protection order, which was announced on Aug. 24, will be contacted directly to notify them of the rescinded order.

Under the order, approximately 108 licence holders in the Koksilah River watershed were forced to stop using water for forage crops, which include grass for hay and silage, alfalfa and forage corn, while industrial water users were also ordered to stop taking water from the watershed amid a historic drought.

The order did not apply to water used for non-forage crops, such as market vegetables, livestock watering or domestic purposes.

Water licensees are still encouraged to conserve water whenever possible, the province said.

Vancouver Island remains at drought level 5, the most severe rating, and many Vancouver Island regions continue to experience the impacts of drought. Top Stories

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