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B.C. officials urge residents to conserve water as drought continues

This week’s rain was welcomed by crews battling wildfires, but it wasn’t enough to relieve our drought conditions.

That’s according to Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma.

“Rain gave our firefighters a chance to breathe, but we are still far from being in the clear,” explained Ma. “Wildfire activity has been exasperated by the severe drought we’re experiencing across the province. 27 out of 34 drought basins are at level four or five, with five being the most severe.”

Ma said you should still be prepared for emergencies, as wildfire season is not over yet.

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B.C.’s Minister of Forests Bruce Ralston said more rain is needed to make a difference in the province’s drought levels.

“While these rains are welcomed, at this stage, they’re not significant enough to change the trajectory of the ongoing drought conditions,” said Ralston. ”

Ralston said the droughts can be blamed on less rain than usual over the last year and higher spring temperatures, leading to early snowmelt.

The current situation is not expected to change any time soon.

“At this point, we need several inches or more of rain over an extended period to help alleviate our drought conditions,” said Ralston. “Significant rainfall doesn’t typically come until the fall, meaning we can anticipate drought conditions to persist for the next while.”

Ma said the drought could extend further if conditions do not improve.

“It is a concern that the drought season could last beyond this calendar year and into the next,” said Ma. “It’s one of the reasons we’ve been imploring communities and water users to take voluntary measures to conserve water now.”

Ma said the situation is dire.

“It is a very serious situation that British Columbia has not faced before. It is absolutely necessary that people change their mindset about water here in British Columbia as a result of the impacts we’re seeing from climate change.”

The province is urging you to conserve water as much as possible, as a prolonged drought could put people, businesses, and the environment at risk.

“Access to water by food producers is vital for food security for all of us. Water supply is also vital for firefighting and operations of many services and businesses,” said Ralston. “We’re working hard to make sure people have the water they need.”

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