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Dealing with Drought: What You Need to Know

Posted on September 26, 2023

British Columbia is currently experiencing severe drought levels and unprecedented conditions around the province. Drought, a recurring feature of climate change, is a shortage of water caused by reduced precipitation and rain that can lead to reduced water availability.

How Does Drought Impact Communities?

Drought conditions can manifest in various ways, impacting both businesses and individuals. Here's a breakdown of the key drought impacts:

1. Reduced Water Availability: Drought often leads to decreased water availability for household and business use. Lower streamflows caused by drought can result in warmer river temperatures, posing a threat to fish and other aquatic life. Additionally, these reduced streamflows can also affect groundwater levels, making water even scarcer.

2. Crop Growth and Quality: Drought impacts crop growth and quality significantly, leading to smaller harvests. Hotter temperatures, which frequently accompany droughts, can cause crops to mature or ripen prematurely. Furthermore, less water is available for irrigation and livestock care, resulting in decreased livestock production and an increase in pests. Learn more about drought planning for agriculture.


How Does Drought Affect Your Well?

In regions where drought conditions persist, such as Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, the South Coast, the Southern Interior, and the Kootenays, private well owners and water suppliers using wells are strongly urged to prioritize water conservation efforts.

Currently, many observation wells are reporting lower-than-normal groundwater levels earlier in the season compared to previous years. To safeguard our water supply, the province advises people to exercise caution with their well water usage. Learn more about how drought affects your well


Water Conservation: What You Can Do Now

Water conservation is a shared responsibility between all communities, organizations, businesses, and residents. Understanding the effects of drought and adopting water conservation practices are crucial steps in mitigating the impact of drought conditions on our communities and environment. Here are a few tips you can implement to reduce your water use: 

  1. Fix Leaks: Repair any leaky faucets, toilets, or pipes promptly. A dripping faucet can waste a significant amount of water over time.

  2. Install Low-Flow Fixtures: Replace older faucets and showerheads with low-flow or high-efficiency models to reduce water usage without sacrificing water pressure.

  3. Collect Rainwater: Install a rain barrel to capture rainwater for use in gardening and landscaping.

  4. Water Plants Wisely: Water your garden and lawn during the early morning or late afternoon to reduce evaporation. Consider using a soaker hose or drip irrigation system.

  5. Use a Broom, Not a Hose: Sweep driveways and sidewalks instead of hosing them down.

  6. Mulch Your Garden: Apply mulch around plants to retain moisture and reduce the need for frequent watering.

  7. Only Run Full Loads: Wait until you have a full load of laundry or dishes before using the washing machine or dishwasher.

  8. Shorter Showers: Aim for shorter showers to conserve water. Consider using a timer to help keep track of time spent in the shower.

  9. Turn Off the Tap: Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or washing your face. Don't let the water run unnecessarily.

  10. Monitor Water Bills: Keep an eye on your water bills for unusual spikes in usage, which may indicate leaks.

Learn more about drought on the Government of BC website here

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