Drought rating increased across the region

Drought rating increased across the region

Kootenays now at Level 3 rating as province grapples with hot and dry conditions

The drought rating for the region has been elevated due to record-breaking hot temperatures and dry conditions, according to the provincial government.

The entire Kootenay region is now at Level Three, which is considered very dry conditions that could carry the possibility of serious ecosystem or socio-economic impact.

While there are no mandatory water restrictions in place, the provincial government says voluntary water conservation is strongly encouraged. However, local municipal water conservation bylaws may differ from provincial water conservation targets due to local water supply and demand, and the availability of storage (lakes and reservoirs) or groundwater.

Residential, agricultural and industrial water users who are located within municipalities and regional districts are encouraged to observe local water conservation bylaws where they exist.

The Level Three rating has been issued in other regions of the province such as the Lower Columbia, West Kootenay, Cariboo, South Thompson, Goldwater River, Salmon River, Skagit and Nechako.

There are no Level One ratings anywhere in the province right now, while the Northeast, Northwest, Stikine, Skeena-Nass areas, along with Vancouver Island, are all at Level Four.

Due to dry conditions, the province says that stream flows, from both tributaries and main-stem rivers are experience rapidly dropping levels, while some are at record lows.

Those record-low stream flows can put aquatic ecosystems at risk, as fish can become stranded in pools and exposed to high temperatures, which can be fatal. Low stream flows also puts fish at higher risks of predation.