The hot dry summer has led the province to declare level 3 (Very Dry) drought conditions on Vancouver Island. Much of the Cowichan region has received less than 5mm of rain since mid-June, which is less than 10% of our normal summer rainfall. Temperatures in August were more than 2 degrees warmer than normal, with highs exceeding 30 degrees on many days.
These drought conditions lead to very low water levels in local rivers and streams, an extreme fire risk across the region, and the risk of falling groundwater levels in some aquifers. All water users are urged to voluntarily reduce their water consumption by 30% to conserve scarce water supplies. The situation is particularly critical in the Koksilah watershed where extremely low flows are putting juvenile Coho and Steelhead populations at risk (see yesterday’s post for more details).