VANCOUVER ISLAND, BC – Vancouver Island is experiencing drought conditions.

As such, the province is asking islanders to conserve water.

The province has announced a Level 3 drought rating for Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, due to the continued warm and dry weather.

A Level 3 drought conditions calls for voluntary water use reductions for all surface water and groundwater users. This includes residents, industry, farmers, and municipalities.

Some streams are backed by storage reservoirs, but several important salmon streams are approaching critical flows. This means flows are dropping too low for ecosystems and fish, including juvenile trout and salmon.

The province is encouraging water users to observe local water conservation bylaws within their municipalities and regional districts.

If voluntary use reductions aren’t enough, the province says it will consider regulating water usage. This could include temporary suspension for water licences or short-term approvals to restore flows to minimum critical levels in affected streams.

Here are a few conservation tips.

At home:

  • limit outdoor watering
  • do not water during the heat of the day or when it is windy
  • plant drought-tolerant vegetation
  • shorter showers
  • do not leave tap water running
  • install water-efficient showerheads, taps, and toilets

On farms:

  • use an irrigation scheduling program that uses 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

In industry:

  • reduce non-essential water use
  • recycle water used in industrial operations
  • use water-efficient methods and equipment