Okanagan under Level 4 drought conditions

The province announced Wednesday that the Okanagan region is under Level 4 drought conditions and angling on Okanagan River is suspended.

The Okanagan region is now under a Level 4 drought rating and angling on Okanagan River is suspended.

The angling suspension is on the main-stem portion of the river only between Okanagan Lake and Osoyoos Lake due to warming water temperatures.

The suspension is effective starting Aug. 6 until Sept 30. The closure is put in place to protect fish stocks due to high water temperatures.

Lake fishing is not affected by the order and other at-risk streams in the affected area are already closed to fishing.

All water users, including those with access groundwater, are being urged by the province to maximize their water conservation efforts.

Regional water managers may take additional regulatory actions if they are deemed necessary including the suspension of water licensces or short-term water approvals in affected water sheds.

Water users are being reminded to ensure that water intake3s are screened to prevent fish from being pulled into systems as water levels drop. Low water levels can impede the passage of salmon to spawning grounds, increase susceptibility to disease  or causing stranding or death due to low oxygen and high water temperatures.

Level 4 drought conditions mean the area is extremely dry. Declines in stream, lake and aquifer levels could possibly lead to water shortages and affect industries like agriculture, wildlife and fish stocks. The Okanagan joins the South Thompson, Similkameen, Kettle and Skagit areas which were raised to Level 4 on July 27.

For drought information visit www.livingwatersmart.ca/drought.