Vancouver Island Lifts Water Restrictions after Substantial Rainfall Replenishes Rivers

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Substantial downpours in sections of Vancouver Island have prompted the British Columbia government to withdraw water limitations affecting the Koksilah and Tsolum river watersheds.

In an immediate mandate, the province declared on Wednesday that the temporary fish conservation orders have been lifted, thereby paving the way for the resumption of industrial and agricultural water usage.

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The Ministry of Forests relayed how significant rainfall had successfully replenished the stream flows of the Koksilah and Tsolum rivers, no longer posing threats to steelhead trout populations. They commended the effective co-operation and compliance of water users, which, coupled with the fish protection orders, has successfully mitigated critical threats to the survival of the trout community.

The ministry will personally reach out to water license holders who were previously affected by the protection order – a mandate which was initiated on Aug. 24 – to inform them of the retraction.

In the wake of the previous mandate, around 108 license holders in the Koksilah River watershed terminated their water use for forage crops, including hay grass, silage, alfalfa, and forage corn. Meanwhile, industrial water users were required to halt their water intake from the watershed due to an unprecedented drought.

Despite these developments, water used for non-forage crops, specifically market vegetables, livestock watering, or residential purposes, was not included in the order.

The province, while lifting restrictions, sustains its call to water licensees for water conservation where feasible.

Vancouver Island, though experiencing a marked degree of rain, continues to grapple with the effects of the drought, maintaining a category 5 drought level, the highest severity rating. As such, various regions within Vancouver Island continue to suffer through a drought’s ramifications.