Provincial government declares Level 3 drought in the East Peace Region

Drought levels in Northern B.C. Photo by Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

VICTORIA, B.C. — Parts of the B.C. Peace Region are officially in a drought.

Continuing dry conditions and dropping water levels have prompted the provincial government to officially declare a Level 3 drought rating for the East Peace region. The declaration includes the communities of Fort St. John, Taylor, Hudson’s Hope, Dawson Creek, and surrounding areas are included in the drought-afflicted area.

A closer view of the East Peace Region, where a Level 3 drought has been declared. Photo by Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development said that Level 3 drought conditions call for voluntary water use reductions of 30% from all surface and groundwater users, including residents, industry, farmers and municipalities.

While some streams are recording normal flows, a number of others are seeing much lower water levels. Because weather forecasts are for insufficient precipitation to recharge streams, stream levels are expected to continue to drop, causing impacts for water users, fish and ecosystems. Ministry staff are closely monitoring stream levels and ecosystems, and may upgrade the drought level if the weather continues to have a negative effect on stream flows and water supplies.

The government also said that as conditions deteriorate, provincial water managers may exercise their authority to temporarily suspend authorized water use in affected watersheds and aquifers.

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.

Industry:

  • Reduce non-essential water usage.
  • Recycle water used in industrial operations.
  • Use water-efficient methods and equipment.