The province says east Vancouver Island is under “Very Dry - Stage 3” drought conditions, but Nanaimo is sticking with current watering restrictions. (Black Press file photo)

Hot, dry conditions force drought rating to highest level on Vancouver Island

The province says Vancouver Island is under Stage 4 drought conditions

The drought rating for eastern Vancouver Island has reached the highest warning level as hot and dry conditions persist.

A Level 4 drought classification indicates conditions are extremely dry and that the water supply won’t meet economic or environmental needs.

The Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations says a number of streams on Vancouver Island are at or near record-low flows for this time of year and recent rain hasn’t helped.

It says water users on all streams are reminded to ensure that intakes are screened to the standards set by Fisheries and Oceans Canada to prevent fish from being pulled into systems as water levels drop.

The drought rating for northern B.C. and all along the coast, including Haida Gwaii, is rated at Level 3, or very dry, where potentially serious consequences due to lack of rain could result.

The province is urging residents, industry, farmers and municipalities to voluntarily reduce water consumption.

It says if that doesn’t maintain flows above critical levels, the province may consider regulating water usage, which could include the temporary suspension of water licences or short-term water approvals.

Related: Cowichan Valley now under Level 4 drought conditions

Related: Eastern Vancouver Island now under Level 4 drought conditions

The Canadian Press

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