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Water restrictions rescinded in Koksilah, Tsolum rivers on Vancouver Island

September 27, 2023 at 3:07 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Following significant rainfall in some regions of Vancouver Island, fish population protection orders will be rescinded in the Koksilah and Tsolum rivers, allowing certain water usage to resume.

Effective Sept. 27, water uses in Koksilah and Tsolum watersheds previously restricted by fish protection orders may resume. Impacted uses include irrigation of forage crops, which include grass for hay and silage, alfalfa and forage corn (corn grown for forage purposes including grazing, silage and earlage). Water use for industrial purposes, as outlined in the protection order, may also resume.

Significant rainfall has restored the streamflows of the Koksilah and Tsolum rivers to levels that no longer threaten steelhead trout populations. Fish protection orders, with the co-operation and compliance of affected water users, have successfully improved critical threats to the survival of steelhead trout populations.

Affected water licensees are being contacted to inform them of the rescinded order, and affected licence numbers and transitioning groundwater-use application numbers are identified in the orders.

Although water restrictions have been rescinded, water licensees are still encouraged to conserve water whenever possible and are required to follow the terms and conditions of their water licences. Vancouver Island remains at drought level 5, the most severe rating, and many Vancouver Island regions continue to experience drought impacts. Every drop counts to make sure that everyone has the water they need.

Farmers impacted by drought can access programs such as the federal-provincial AgriStability program, which helps producers with significant drops in income or increased expenses. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food, in collaboration with the federal government, is also ensuring that producers who did not enrol in AgriStability by the April 30 deadline are still eligible for late participation and can receive financial assistance. The Province also offers a low-cost production insurance program, which provides coverage for plant-and-yield losses caused by extreme weather events including drought.

To provide further support for farmers and producers, the Province is working with the federal government on an AgriRecovery program so that drought-impacted ranchers in B.C. get additional support for the extraordinary expenses involved in keeping their livestock fed, sheltered, in good health and in a safe environment.

Learn More:

Drought portal (maps, tables): https://governmentofbc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=838d533d8062411c820eef50b08f7ebc

Drought information: www.gov.bc.ca/drought  

River Forecast Centre: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/water/drought-flooding-dikes-dams/river-forecast-centre

Drought and agriculture: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/agricultural-land-and-environment/water/drought-in-agriculture  

Insurance and Income Protection Programs for B.C. farmers: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs#Insurance

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