(Courtesy Kettle River Watershed Authority website)

Extreme drought declared for Kettle River watershed

The level 4 drought classification came Friday afternoon.

The Kettle and Granby rivers are now in an extreme state of drought, according to press releases issued by both the province at the Kettle River Watershed Authority on Friday.

The Kettle and Granby rivers are now at a level 4 drought, which is prompting the province for all water users, including municipalities, to reduce their water consumption to the maximum reduction possible.

The drought will place additional stress on ecosystems and fish, as well as have a potential impact on the water users.

According to a press release issued by the Kettle River Watershed Authority, the Kettle, Granby and West Kettle rivers are “at or below” critical flow levels.

“The flow levels are the minimum necessary for then next generation of fish and other aquatic species to survive,” the release notes.

This year’s levels will be more extreme than those found during the 2015 drought, it goes on.

Fish that will be impacted in our area include brown and rainbow trout, the province said.

The Kettle River watershed is joining the Nicola, Similkameen and Coldwater watersheds, which were placed at a level 4 drought earlier this year. The Kettle and Granby had been at a level 3 drought since mid-August.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources will also be issuing approximately 650 letters to river licensees in the Kettle River watershed. Domestic users will be excluded from these letters.