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Areas of Southern B.C. move to Level 4 drought rating

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File photo. Mark Runnacles / Getty Images

Four areas of Southern B.C. are moving to a Level 4 drought rating.

This includes the South Thompson, Similkameen, Kettle and Skagit areas due to ongoing low stream flows.

The Okanagan area remains at Level 3 at this time.

The BC Government says at Level 4, conditions are extremely dry. Any further declines in stream, lake and aquifer levels could lead to water shortages and affect people, agriculture, wildlife and fish stocks. Everyone is urged to maximize their water conservation efforts.

READ MORE: BC Drought Watch 2015

The government says the establishment of a Level 4 drought advisory means that regional water managers may take additional regulatory actions if they are deemed necessary. Any actions will be site specific depending on individual stream conditions and could include the temporary suspension of water licences or short-term water approvals in affected watersheds if necessary.

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Although residential, agricultural and industrial users within municipalities and regional districts are less vulnerable to water supply shortages, due to reservoir storage, all water users should observe conservation bylaws to prolong water supplies and to maintain flows for fish.

Drought ratings for the South Thompson, Similkameen, Kettle and Skagit areas were last adjusted on July 10, when they were increased to Level 3.

Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and the Fraser Valley are already at a Level 4 drought rating.

Water restrictions do not necessarily correspond to the drought level. The province raises or lowers the drought level, but that does not automatically mean stricter water restrictions are put in place. Parts of Vancouver Island have moved to Stage 4 water restrictions, while others, along with Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, remain at Stage 3.