Province Continues to Ask for 50% Reduction in Water Use

Effective July 28th, the Province elevated the drought level in some areas of the Kootenay Boundary Region to Level 4. Salmo remains at this level.

Updated regional drought levels and supporting information can be found on the BC Drought Information Portal. Once again, please be aware that the four level drought scale (1-4) most are familiar with has been replaced by a six level system (0-5). This six level scale and associated indicator thresholds have been revised in the retitled  “BC Drought and Water Scarcity Response Plan”.

September 23, 2021 – The current Kootenay Boundary Region basin drought levels and associated recommendations are as follows:

  • Upper Columbia- Level 1 – emphasize stewardship and to prepare under the precautionary assumption that conditions may deteriorate again.
  • East Kootenay- Level 2- emphasize stewardship and to prepare under the precautionary assumption that conditions may deteriorate again.
  • West Kootenay- Level 4- we are requesting voluntary water use reductions of 50%. This includes both surface water and groundwater.
  • Lower Columbia- Level 4- we are requesting voluntary water use reductions of 50%. This includes both surface water and groundwater.
  • Kettle- Level 5 We are asking all water users to find ways to reduce water use as much as possible beyond previous 50% voluntary reductions. Temporary Fish Population Protection Order issued on the West Kettle River.

Recent precipitation has contributed to increased flows in many systems throughout the region but we are already seeing streamflow drop in many catchments. Many streams and aquifers remain at concerningly low levels for this time of year. Respecting this, drought levels have not changed since last reported, with the exception of Upper Columbia that is now level 1.

Recommended actions to take are as follows:

  • Upper Columbia- Level 1 – emphasize stewardship and to prepare under the precautionary assumption that conditions may deteriorate again.East Kootenay- Level 2- emphasize stewardship and to prepare under the precautionary assumption that conditions may deteriorate again.
  • Upper Columbia basin: Has decreased to a drought level 1. However, water conservation is encouraged and any unnecessary water use be ceased as conditions are becoming very dry and are forecasted to get worse. This includes both surface water and groundwater
  • East Kootenay basin: Has increased to a drought level 3 and we are now requesting voluntary water use reductions of 30%. This includes both surface water and groundwater.
  • West Kootenay, Lower Columbia and Kettle basins: Remain at Drought level 4 where we are requesting voluntary water use reductions of 50%. This includes both surface water and groundwater. 
  • The province is investigating unauthorized use of water in the region and will be targeting these withdrawals for curtailment to support the conservation efforts being made by licenced water users.

Additional information can  be found on the Provincial Drought Information webpage or call FrontCounter BC at 1-877-855-3222.

Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
1902 Theatre Road Cranbrook, BC V1C 7G1