B.C. is taking action to reduce the frequency and impacts of droughts. Everyone has a part in water conservation.
Last updated: November 17, 2023
In B.C., drought response is a shared responsibility with the Province, the federal government, water providers, regional districts, municipalities and First Nations. During these severe drought conditions, the Province is supporting local governments to conserve water.
Depending on their water sources, the situation can be very different in individual communities - even in communities that are relatively close.
Check with your local municipal authority or First Nations for water restrictions in your community.
The Province issues Temporary Protection Orders (TPOs) under the Water Sustainability Act. TPOs are only issued if absolutely necessary and water levels put the survival of a fish population or the environment at risk.
Before issuing a TPO:
If a TPO is not followed, regulatory action is taken, including significant fines. Natural Resource Officers monitor and enforce orders.
The Province is working with the agricultural community and the federal government to support B.C. producers. This includes proactively applying to the federal government for AgriRecovery funding.
A reimbursement program for First Nations and local governments for the transportation of alternate drinking water is available. If required, First Nations and local governments should contact their provincial regional emergency coordination centre.
Water conservation is everyone’s responsibility - including people, business and industry. You can help conserve water by making small changes to the way you do things. Review the water use in your household, around your property and at work for ways you can use less water.
Don't know where to start? Learn more about water conservation or get ideas for ways to save from the tips below.
Share water conservation tips with your community by sharing these tips or posting an Every Drop Counts poster (PDF, 3.1 MB).
Many communities offer water conversation rebates or incentives. These are in place to help people save money while reducing water use. The most common rebates or water saving incentives in B.C are available for:
Check with your local municipal authority or First Nations to learn if they offer conservation incentives or rebates like these ones or the examples below.
Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley
Abbotsford and Mission
City of Chilliwack
City of Port Coquitlam
Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast
Comox Valley Regional District
Regional District of Nanaimo
Sunshine Coast Regional District
City of Victoria
Capital Regional District
Droughts can severely impact fish, wildlife and natural habitats.
Drought conditions can raise water temperatures and make it harder for released fish to recover. To protect fish populations from further stress, recreational fishing is being restricted in some areas.
Due to the impacts of drought, bears may enter urban areas in search of food. Often, that new food source is garbage or birdfeeders. Discourage bears by cleaning up, storing, and securing your garbage. For more bear safety tips, visit WildSafeBC.com.
If you encounter a bear in an urban area, give it space. If a bear displays aggressive or confrontational behaviour, contact the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.
Trees near sidewalks and on public spaces or boulevards are important to the health of cities. They provide shade and cooling during extreme heat.
Communities are continuing to water urban trees. Consider helping by using recycled water to water a tree near your home or business. To report a tree in distress – one that has leaves that are light-coloured, small, or are hanging down unusually – please contact your local government or First Nations.
In the months leading up to this drought season, the Province has been working with local governments and First Nations to get prepared and become more resilient to drought.
Water infrastructure funding is supporting local governments through a variety of grant programs.
For questions about governance during severe drought conditions, representatives of local governments should contact the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Local Government Division.
To discuss preparedness planning or to get help, communities should contact their local Emergency Management and Climate Readiness regional office.
The Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness is assisting communities with their water scarcity response planning.
The Dealing with Drought handbook (PDF, 592KB) supports water suppliers responding to drought conditions.
Explore the Water Conservation Guide for B.C. to learn how your community can reach your water conservation goals.
B.C.’s tourism industry is supporting water conservation. The new water conservation tourism industry toolkit has tips to help resorts, restaurants, and other tourism industry partners conserve water.
The B.C. government offers several programs to support farmers from crop losses and income declines.
AgriStability offers support when farmers suffer a decline in income due to things like crop losses, market conditions, or increased costs of production. Important changes were made to the AgriStability program to support farmers, ranchers, and producers through these drought conditions. Changes include:
Production insurance provides relief to insured growers for crop losses when they are damaged by weather conditions, including drought, extreme heat and fire.
To help farmers and producers get hay and feed, a new Access to Feed program is available. Delivered in partnership with the BC Cattlemen’s Association, this program matches sellers of hay and feed, across Canada and internationally, with farmers and producers.
For more information on the Access to Feed Program and other supports offered, please visit the BC Cattlemen’s Association.
Industry experts are ready to help farmers, ranchers and producers who need support. Contact your local industry association or call the AgriService BC line Monday to Friday between 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Use the 2023 Quick Guide to Drought Resources (PDF, 118.2KB) to find a summary of drought specific resources and information about programs that support emergency preparation and response.