Skeena-Nass Now at Level 3 Drought Rating

8/11/2016

The province is asking water users in the Skeena and Nass regions to cut their water usage by 30 per cent, due to prolongued dry conditions along the coast.

The Ministry of Natural Resources says the area is currently experiencing Level Three drought conditions, which call for voluntary reductions by municipal, agricultural and industrial users of surface-water and groundwater.

Ministry staff are closely monitoring river and well levels throughout the Skeena and Nass regions, and warn they may upgrade the drought level if conditions warrant it. 

Low water levels can also impede the passage of salmon to spawning grounds, increase susceptibility to disease, or cause stranding or death due to low oxygen and high water temperatures.

 

Drought Level Classification

In B.C. we use a four level Drought Classification to explain the severity and appropriate level of response to drought conditions.The B.C. government’s ability to regulate water during drought is not dependent on an area’s drought level. The authorities in the WSA operate independently of an area’s drought level and can be used to deal with conflicts and concerns in a single water source or with significant water shortages in a specific area.

LevelConditionsSignificanceObjectiveTarget

1

(Green)

Normal Conditions There is sufficient water to meet human and ecosystem needs Preparedness Ongoing reductions in community water use

2

(Yellow)

Dry Conditions First indications of a potential water supply problem Voluntary conservation Minimum 10% reduction

3

(Orange)

Very Dry Conditions Potentially serious ecosystem or socio-economic impacts are possible Voluntary conservation and restrictions Minimum additional 20% reduction to a minimum of total of 30%

4

(Red)

Extremely Dry Conditions Water supply insufficient to meet socio-economic and ecosystem needs Voluntary conservation, restrictions and regulatory action as necessary Maximum reduction
Loss of Supply Potential loss of a community's potable or fire fighting supply Emergency response Ensure health and safety

 

== NEWS RELEASE ==

 
For Immediate Release
 
2016FLNR0169-001446
 
Aug. 11, 2016 
 
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
 
INFORMATION BULLETIN
 
Skeena-Nass moves to Level 3 drought rating
 
VICTORIA - As a result of prolonged dry conditions along the coast, the  
Province is urging water users in the Skeena and Nass regions to  
voluntary reduce water use by 30%.
 
The area is currently experiencing Level 3 hydrological drought  
conditions, which call for voluntary water-use reductions of 30% from all  
surface-water and groundwater users, including municipal, agricultural  
and industrial users. 
 
Ministry staff are closely monitoring river and well levels and may 
upgrade the drought level if the weather continues to have a negative  
effect on stream flows and water supply. Residential, agricultural and  
industrial users within municipalities and the regional district are  
encouraged to observe local water conservation bylaws.
 
Water users are also encouraged to ensure that water intakes are screened 
to prevent fish from being pulled into water systems as water levels 
drop. Low water levels can impede the passage of salmon to spawning 
grounds, increase susceptibility to disease, or cause stranding or death 
due to low oxygen and high water temperatures. 
 
Further reductions in stream, lake and aquifer levels could lead to water 
shortages and affect people, agriculture, industry and fish stocks. 
Ministry staff will continue to monitor conditions, work closely with 
local governments and key stakeholders, and provide updates as the need 
arises. Should conditions continue to deteriorate, provincial water 
managers may exercise their authority to temporarily suspend authorized 
water usage in affected watersheds and aquifers.
  
The new Water Sustainability Act contains new tools to manage water use 
during times of scarcity, including authority for all households to 
access a basic amount of water for essential household needs, protection 
of crucial environmental flows for fish and ecosystems, and regulation of 
groundwater withdrawals that may affect streamflows. 
 
Water conservation is everyone's responsibility. Many communities in B.C. 
are prepared to deal with water supply shortages and low streamflow 
conditions by drought management plans and water conservation programs 
that are already in place.  
 
Water conservation tips:
 
At home: 
* Limit outdoor watering. 
* Don't water during the heat of the day or when it's windy. 
* Consider planting drought-tolerant vegetation. 
* Take shorter showers. 
* Don't leave the tap running. 
* Install water-efficient showerheads 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. 
 
For industry: 
* Reduce non-essential water usage. 
* Recycle water used in industrial operations. 
* Use water-efficient methods and equipment. 
 
Learn more: 
B.C. Drought information: 
http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/water/drought-flooding-dikes-dams/drought-information