NEW: Blog Post #32 – Proposal to Update B.C.’s Drought Levels – What do you think?



The Province is seeking your feedback on a proposal to update British Columbia’s (B.C.) drought level scale.

Drought severity in B.C. is currently communicated to British Columbians through four “drought levels” on a scale of 1 (normal conditions) to 4 (extremely dry conditions). In light of feedback received over the years, the Province is proposing to update and expand the existing drought levels to a six-level scale that better aligns with the North American Drought Monitor best practices. The proposed changes are intended to more accurately describe water scarcity conditions in B.C. and allow for improved protection of water resources and local aquatic ecology.

The Province intends to run a trial of the proposed drought levels over summer 2021, pending the review of feedback received during this engagement period and any revisions to the proposal.

For an explanation of the updates to the drought level scale, please watch this short video.

We invited you to share your thoughts on the proposed updates to the drought levels by leaving a comment below or by sending an email to livingwatersmart@gov.bc.ca. Comments were accepted March 1 until March 31, 2021 at 5:00pm.

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9 responses to “NEW: Blog Post #32 – Proposal to Update B.C.’s Drought Levels – What do you think?

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    [-] Ryan

    I find the change to be an improvement, thank you.

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    [-] Mary

    It is an idea to increase the range from 1-4 to 1-6 , I suppose, as long as it doesn’t mean encouraging fudging the line for special interests, like tourism.
    However, it is much more important to increases the education and the visibility of postings (yes, even posters on ferries) to reach tourists before they travel to East Vancouver Island this summer. I live on a gulf island that sees an increase from 900 residents to an influx of 4,000 to 6,000 tourists with no way off but one road to one ferry. We have been working for over twenty years to educate people about water conservation and our Fire/Rescue Department has diligently established large fire-fighting water tanks over the island. They are not equipped nor trained to fight forest fires and the residents would be trapped behind panicked tourists trying to escape.
    PLEASE, do much, much more PR, starting now, about drought conditions in this area than writing just another report and putting it on a shelf!
    It is not only the quantity of water for residents that is seriously depleted by tourism, and lack of rain in summer to recharge aquifers, that worries us but the fear of fire is EXTREMELY concerning in summer until that first rainfall in October when we can sleep.
    Hornby Island

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    [-] Jay

    I believe that one of the reasons to have a drought level scale is to communicate to the public the seriousness of drought conditions. I’m not sure how adding an extra level enhances the public’s understanding of what each level represents. If I was a member of the general public and saw Levels described as ‘Very Dry, Severely Dry, Extremely Dry, and Exceptionally Dry’ I would be confused on the difference- they all would appear to mean the same thing. I think the existing 4 level scale is simpler and more easily understood by the public.

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    [-] M

    The new drought levels are fine but it needs to be communicated properly especially to people that have their own wells. When people have their own wells they feel they don’t have to follow water conservation or restrictions. When the residents can’t ‘see’ the levels dropping in the aquifer that supplies their well it is hard for them to see the need for water conservation until their well actually runs dry. The mentality that ‘I paid for my well therefore it is my water’ is wrong. There is no joint effort for conservation, so if some well owners conserves water but their neighbours don’t, the wells will still go dry and then everyone is out of water. There has to be a plan or enforcement for well owners to conserve. Oh and the registering of wells is not going to help in the short term as too many are resisting registration. Again with the mentality that it is their well they paid for therefore their water. They feel government is overstepping. Thanks.

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    [-] Doug

    I agree with the proposed changes as it will be a tool that will better guide decisions as the effects of climate change impact our communities.
    It would be equally beneficial to have a water conservation plan for communities that include residential water meters, there is an impression that because we live in the foothills of the Rockies that we have an abundance of water which is a false impression in my opinion. Having Provincial discussions with Local Government Councils on the benefits of water meters could persuade those in doubt of future droughts. Thanks

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    [-] K.

    There are at least three types of drought: Meteorological, hydrological, and agricultural. Some people also believe that there is another type, called economic drought, which has nothing to do with dryness but the ratio of water supply and demand. Which type of these drought indices were used in the BC drought levels? I hope they are using a hybrid of these.

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    [-] ZOE

    I am very happy to see this direction!
    A concern I have is when broadcasting out to media regarding drought states, that you always include a line that says, “check your water system supplier’s website for the most up-to-date restrictions in your area” or something like that.

    A suggestion is that you provide a hyperlink the bolded words under the Impacts column – ‘rare’, ‘unlikely’ ‘possible’ ‘likely’ and ‘almost certain’ to illustrate examples that the public can relate to like….
    • creeks are running low and water is too hot to support fish
    • farmers may not have enough water for crops or animals
    • the forest is drying to dangerous fire levels
    • evaporation rates are high

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    [-] Anne

    The Village of Salmo fully supports these changes and this summer’s trial period of the revised levels. This change is long overdue and we hope that the trial will prove successful.

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    [-] Richard

    We all have a bit of nomad in us they they move to where Mother Nature puts the water. If that was the basis of where humans live let Mother Nature lead us to that area and there would be no recognizable drought

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