VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C- The drought affecting Vancouver Island has reached record levels.

On Friday, the entire island was moved up to a drought rating of Level 4, the highest level available. The northeast, Sitkine, Skeena-Nass, and northwest regions of British Columbia have also been moved to the same rating.

The rating means water supply in those regions isn’t enough to meet socio-economic and ecosystem needs.

“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 licenses or short-term water approvals, should it become necessary, to protect flows for fish and for priority water users.”

Residents are encouraged to check with their local governments about existing water restrictions.

Stage 2 restrictions are in effect for the entire Comox Valley Regional District, which covers both Courtenay and Comox.
In Port Hardy, water restrictions are at Stage 2. In Powell River, water restrictions are at Stage 1, and in Campbell River the restrictions are at Stage 1.