Many waterways in British Columbia's Peace Region are experiencing very low stream flow conditions, so the government is encouraging residents to conserve water and learn more about dealing with current drought conditions.
On July 31, the River Forecast Centre issued a Low Stream Flow Advisory for the East Peace Region, which includes the Kiskatinaw, Moberly, Beatton and Fontas rivers (in the Liard River drainage area) and their tributaries, as well as areas east of these watersheds all the way to the Alberta border.
The Peace River region had a below-average snowpack this winter, as well as a dry and warm spring and summer. These weather conditions resulted in rapid evaporation of soil water and surface water, causing river levels to recede faster than usual. Some waterways are experiencing low flow rates that would only be expected once in 20 years.
The region's water rating is currently set at Drought Response Level 3 (Orange), indicating that conditions are "very dry". No significant rainfall is forecast for the next 10 days. As a result, river levels in most of the Peace River region are expected to drop further. Low stream and lake levels could lead to water shortages and affect people, agriculture, industry and fish stocks.
Water conservation is everyone's responsibility. The government is urging residents in the Peace River area to conserve water during this low-flow period. In the event of continued dry conditions, the government may need to implement regulations to manage water usage in the region.
The River Forecast Centre will continue to monitor conditions and provide updates as the need arises.
Water conservation tips:
- 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.
- Reduce non-essential water usage.
- Recycle water used in industrial operations.
- Utilize water-efficient methods and equipment.
Province of British Columbia Drought Information: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wsd/public_safety/drought_info/index.html
Stream flow and precipitation conditions in the province are provided on the River Forecast Centre's website: www.env.gov.bc.ca/rfc/
Province of British Columbia Agriculture Drought Strategies: http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/emergency/Drought/Drought.htm
Living Water Smart: British Columbia's Water Plan: www.livingwatersmart.ca
Information on groundwater: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wsd/plan_protect_sustain/groundwater/library/faq_grdwater.html
Environment Canada Water Conservation: http://www.ec.gc.ca/water/en/manage/effic/e_weff.htm
Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations