Bulkley and Skeena residents urged to conserve water

Level 3 drought conditions has the province urging residents of Bulkley and Skeena watersheds to reduce water use.

The pleasant weather has been too pleasant for too long. Forest fires having been popping up in the region, and now the province is asking people in the Bulkley and Skeena watersheds to reduce their water use.

Here is the full press release from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, which includes tip on how to conserve:

— With weather conditions expected to remain dry in the coming week, water users in the Bulkley and Skeena watersheds are being urged to reduce water consumption.

The region is currently experiencing Level 3 drought conditions, which call for voluntary water use reductions of 20% or more from all municipal, agricultural and industrial users. Residents within municipalities are encouraged to observe municipal water conservation bylaws.

Staff with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations are closely monitoring river levels and may upgrade the drought advisory if the weather continues to have a negative effect on stream flows. The River Forecast Centre has issued a low streamflow advisory for the Skeena and Bulkley rivers and tributaries.

Water users are 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.

In addition to the low stream flows, groundwater measurements in the area indicate lower water levels typical of the dry season, reflecting both seasonal variations and increased water usage due to the warm and dry weather. Well owners are encouraged to conserve water by using less and relying on stored water.

Level 4 drought conditions, the highest rating, are determined by factors including regional stream flows, water storage capacity, ecological concerns, weather forecasts and impacts on water users.

Should conditions reach Level 4, provincial water managers may exercise their authority to temporarily suspend short-term water permits or water licences in affected watersheds.

Further reductions in stream, lake and aquifer levels could lead to water shortages and affect people, agriculture, industry and fish stocks. The Province will continue to monitor conditions and provide updates as the need arises.

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.

Industry:

  • Reduce non-essential water usage.
  • Recycle water used in industrial operations.
  • Utilize water-efficient methods and equipment.