Hot, dry conditions push drought rating to highest level on eastern Vancouver Island

A Level 4 drought classification indicates conditions are extremely dry and that the water supply won't meet economic or environmental needs.

Level 4 classification indicates water supply won't meet economic or environmental needs

The east coast of Vancouver Island has reached drought level 4, rated as extremely dry. (B.C. Drought Information Portal)

The drought rating for eastern Vancouver Island has reached the highest warning level as hot and dry conditions persist.

A Level 4 drought classification indicates conditions are extremely dry and that the water supply won't meet economic or environmental needs.

The Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations says a number of streams on Vancouver Island are at or near record-low flows for this time of year and recent rain hasn't helped.

Those drawing water from all streams are reminded to ensure that intakes are screened to the standards set by Fisheries and Oceans Canada to prevent fish from being pulled into systems as water levels drop, the ministry says.

Leaves are turning red on Vancouver Island trees due to a lack of moisture. (Tim Ebata)

Very dry conditions across B.C.

The drought rating for northern B.C. and the coast, including Haida Gwaii, is at Level 3, or very dry, where potentially serious consequences due to lack of rain could result.

The province is urging residents, industry, farmers and municipalities to voluntarily reduce water consumption.

It says if that doesn't maintain flows above critical levels, the province may consider regulating water usage, which could include the temporary suspension of water licences or short-term water approvals.

Read more from CBC British Columbia