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It's spring, but B.C. already sounds drought alarms; fish, water, fire threats

Last Updated Jun 11, 2019 at 2:40 pm PDT

Summary

Drought levels have been raised already for parts of B.C. with few rainy days this spring

Property owners need to honour current water restrictions

VICTORIA — Long stretches of warm weather this spring and too few rainy days are raising alarms about drought across British Columbia.

Drought levels have been raised already for parts of the province and Dave Campbell, with the B.C. River Forecast Centre, says the current forecast points to drought conditions provincewide in the coming weeks.

Campbell says the snow pack levels from last winter are half of what they would normally be and between 55 per cent and 100 per cent of the snow pack that feeds many of the provincial waterways has already melted.

He says if the dry spell continues and spring rains don’t arrive soon, B.C. will start to experience increasing drought conditions by the end of June.

Last year, dry weather contributed to B.C.’s record wildfire season, with more than 2,100 fires consuming more than 13,000 square kilometres of forests, grasslands and property.

Richard Kennett, an owner of Bucky’s Sports Shop in Duncan, B.C., says local fishing streams and salmon spawning waterways are already at low levels and he worries salmon will not be able to get to their spawning grounds this year.

Meanwhile in Metro Vancouver, Inder Singh with the city’s water department says though water levels are below normal, it isn’t urgent yet.

“At this point in time, we are not too concerned with respect to advanced levels of restrictions but again that has to be carefully monitored because things could change depending on how much use is being experienced,” he says.

That means property owners need to honour current restrictions which allow watering only twice a week.