Persistent hot and dry weather in the East Kootenay has led to worsening drought conditions in the region.
B.C. government officials updated the Drought Information Map and upped the East Kootenay to Drought Level 5.
This is the highest level on the scale and officials said it means adverse impacts to socio-economic or ecosystem values are almost certain.
“Drought can lead to reduced water availability for household and business use. Lower streamflows may cause warmer river temperatures, affecting fish and other aquatic life,” said B.C. government officials. “Low streamflows can also have an impact on groundwater levels.”
This can also impact food production across the province.
“Drought can reduce crop growth and quality, leading to smaller harvests,” said the province. “Hotter temperatures that often occur alongside drought may lead to early crop maturity or ripening. Less water may be available for irrigation and for animal care, and livestock production suffers and pests increase.”
22 water basins across the province are under Drought Level 5 as of Aug. 25.
B.C. government officials said everyone in the province is responsible for helping protect water supplies, especially during a drought.
“Water conservation is critical in summer months but year-round water conservation has significant benefits as well,” said the province. “Reducing water consumption decreases the amount of water that requires treatment, as well as sewage and infrastructure costs.”
The province has some tips to help you conserve water at home:
- Try to keep showers limited to five minutes or less.
- Fill the sink with water if you’re washing the dishes by hand, rather than letting the water run.
- Keep a cool jug of water in the fridge rather than relying on the tap for drinking water.
- Turn off the water while you shave or brush your teeth.
- Regularly check your home for leaks. Provincial officials said unchecked leaks can waste many litres of water each year.
- Run only full loads of laundry and dishes.
- Water lawns sparingly. Officials said lawns only need about one inch of water per week.
- Water in the morning or evening to reduce evaporation.
- Clean your driveway with a broom rather than a hose.
- Check for leaks in outdoor pipes, faucets and hoses.
- Use drought-resistant plants in landscaping.
- Use a rain barrel to collect water for outdoor plants.
- Consider a water-saving pool filter if you have a swimming pool.
More resources can be found below.