Monday, May 10, 2010

Summer drought possible for parts of B.C., environment minister warns -- Vancouver Sun

Environment Minister Barry Penner warned Friday of possible drought for parts of British Columbia this summer.

Penner said below average snowpacks across the province could mean streams will be running much lower than normal by the summer months.

"With the exception of high-elevation areas on Vancouver Island and the South Coast, snowpacks across B.C. are all below normal," said a statement released by the government Friday.

"The low snowpack and smaller-than-normal snowmelt run-off are likely to be reflected in lower-than-normal lake and reservoir levels, lower-than-normal recharge of groundwater aquifers and lower-than-normal river levels during summer," it added.

The statement said that much of the Southern Interior is classified at drought level three, meaning low stream flows and water supply shortages are "highly probable" unless significant rainfall occurs during May and June.

The statement said local governments in these areas should consider water restrictions and review drought management plans.

Much of the Central and Northern Interior are classified at drought level two, the statement said.

These areas have early indications of summer water supply shortages, it said, adding that the province is only calling for voluntary water conservation in these areas.

In an interview, Penner said southwest areas of the province like the Lower Mainland and Whistler are not facing such dramatic shortages.

He added that the province is developing a drought response plan for the coming summer.

"We are running what I would describe as a water deficit and that has been a couple of years in the making for many parts of the province," he said.

"Our goal is to reduce any impacts on communities, residents, farmers, and fish and wildlife."
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun


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I have been a resident of Coldstream since 1976. I have had 15 years of experience on Council, 3 years as Mayor. As a current Councillor I am working to achieve fair water and sewer rates and to ensure that taxpayers get fair treatment. The current direction regarding water supply is unsustainable and I am doing all I can to get the most cost effective water supply possible.