Vancouver Island's east coast hits maximum-level drought

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      While the B.C. government declared a state of emergency today due to over 500 wildfires burning across the province, drought has hit the east coast of Vancouver Island.

      The B.C. government has raised the drought rating for East Vancouver Island to Level 4, which is the highest level or "extremely dry". West Vancouver Island and the Metro Vancouver area remain at Level 3.

      Maximum reduction of water usage and water conservation, including by residents, industries, farmers, and municipalities, is being emphasized.

      If stream flows do not remain above critical levels, regulatory action may be implemented under the Water Sustainability Act, including the temporary suspension of water licences or short-term water approvals.

      Despite recent rains, numerous Vancouver Island streams remain around record-low flow levels for this time frame, including the Koksilah, Chemainus, San Juan, and Salmon rivers.

      If warm temperatures continue to affect stream flows and water supplies, angling closures may also be implemented.