Okanagan drought rating raised to highest level

Level 4 conditions indicate a decline in aquifer levels that could affect people, industry, wildlife and fish stocks.

  • Aug. 7, 2015 2:00 p.m.

Responding to continuing dry conditions, the Government of B.C. has announced a Level 4 drought rating for the Okanagan.

And it has taken the additional action of suspending angling on the Okanagan River (main-stem only) between Okanagan Lake and Osooyos Lake due to warming water temperatures.

This brings the Okanagan region to the same drought level classification as the South Thompson, Similkameen, Kettle and Skagit areas, which were raised to Level 4 on July 27.

At Level 4, conditions are extremely dry. Further declines in stream, lake and aquifer levels could lead to water shortages and affect people, industry such as agriculture, wildlife and fish stocks.

All water users, including those who access groundwater, are urged to maximize their water conservation efforts.

The establishment of a Level 4 drought advisory, signals that regional water managers may take additional regulatory actions if they are deemed necessary. Any such actions will be site-specific depending on individual stream conditions.

Specific actions could include the temporary suspension of water licences or short-term water approvals in affected watersheds if necessary. Ministry water management staff will continue to monitor conditions, work closely with First Nations, local governments, stakeholders, and provide updates as needed.

 

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