Drought rating for Okanagan upgraded to level 3

After one of the most hottest and driest summers on record, the drought rating for the Okanagan watershed has been bumped up to a level 3, which means "very dry". 

Under the rating, residents, businesses, farmers and municipalities are urged to reduce water use by 30%. 

While some streams and lakes have adequate flows, the province says a number of streams are seeing low flows, which is impacting water users and fish, including returning adult salmon

With continued warm, dry weather in the forecast, stream flows are expected to continue to go down. 

Similkameen, Nicola, and Salmon River watersheds have been upgraded to a level 4 drought rating which means "extremely dry" and calls for maximum reduction of water use.

Tips to conserve water:

At home:

* Limit outdoor watering.

* Don't water during the heat of the day or when it's windy.

* Consider planting drought-tolerant vegetation.

* Take shorter showers.

* Don't leave the tap running.

* Install water-efficient showerheads, taps and toilets.

On the farm:

* Implement an irrigation scheduling program using real-time weather data.

* Schedule irrigation to match crop needs and soil storage capacity.

* Improve water system efficiencies and check for leaks.

* Focus on high-value crops and livestock.

Industry:

* Reduce non-essential water use.

* Recycle water used in industrial operations.

* Use water-efficient methods and equipment.