UPDATE: Drought-like conditions in northwestern B.C. spur call to reduce water usage

City of Terrace adds new watering restrictions to existing ones after province asks public and businesses to use less water.

The City of Terrace announced late today, Aug. 11, that new watering restrictions are in place after the province put out a release urging the public and businesses to reduce water usage by 30 per cent.

“As the Province of BC has upgraded the drought rating to level 3, additional water sprinkling restrictions are now in effect, as follows: Between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. only, on your day. Odd numbered addresses on odd numbered days [and] even numbered addresses on even numbered days.

“These restrictions are required to protect this valuable resource, ensure that adequate water supply is available for firefighting purposes, and to keep the costs of delivering water to a minimum. Hand sprinkling of flowers and shrubs with a controlled nozzle is allowed at any time,” said the city on its website and Facebook page.

“The City requests that residents reduce water use as much as possible and thanks you for your assistance in the sensible and moderate use of water.”

Manager economic development for the City of Terrace, Danielle Myles said “Our aquifers and pumping levels are good currently. Because of the drought level increase by the province, we are requesting that water users in Terrace assist us in taking this precautionary measure.”

Earlier today, the provincial government urged water users in the Skeena and Nass regions to voluntary reduce water use by 30 per cent.

The area is currently experiencing Level 3 hydrological drought conditions, which call for voluntary water-use reductions of 30 per cent from all surface-water and groundwater users, including municipal, agricultural and industrial users.

Ministry staff are closely monitoring river and well levels and may upgrade the drought level if the weather continues to have a negative effect on stream flows and water supply.

Residential, agricultural and industrial users within municipalities and the regional district are encouraged to observe local water conservation bylaws.

Water users are also encouraged to ensure that water intakes are screened to prevent fish from being pulled into water systems as water levels drop.

Low water levels can impede the passage of salmon to spawning grounds, increase susceptibility to disease, or cause stranding or death due to low oxygen and high water temperatures.

Further reductions in stream, lake and aquifer levels could lead to water shortages and affect people, agriculture, industry and fish stocks.

Ministry staff will continue to monitor conditions, work closely with local governments and key stakeholders, and provide updates as the need arises.

Should conditions continue to deteriorate, provincial water managers may exercise their authority to temporarily suspend authorized water usage in affected watersheds and aquifers.

The new Water Sustainability Act contains new tools to manage water use during times of scarcity, including authority for all households to access a basic amount of water for essential household needs, protection of crucial environmental flows for fish and ecosystems, and regulation of groundwater withdrawals that may affect streamflows.

Water conservation is everyone’s responsibility. Many communities in B.C. are prepared to deal with water supply shortages and low streamflow conditions by drought management plans and water conservation programs that are already in place.

Water conservation tips:

At home:

* Limit outdoor watering.

* Don’t water during the heat of the day or when it’s windy.

* Consider planting drought-tolerant vegetation.

* Take shorter showers.

* Don’t leave the tap running.

* Install water-efficient showerheads and toilets.

 

On the farm:

* Implement an irrigation-scheduling program using 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.

 

For industry:

* Reduce non-essential water usage.

* Recycle water used in industrial operations.

* Use water-efficient methods and equipment.

Learn more: B.C. Drought information: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/water/drought-flooding-dikes-dams/drought-information