By Spencer Hall, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Rocky Mountain Goat

MCBRIDE, B.C. ” The Village of McBride declared a local statement of emergency and announced water restrictions due to drought that is threatening to impact the village’s drinking water and fire suppression ability.

Council made the decision at a special meeting held during the UBCM convention in Vancouver on Tuesday.

Water usage restrictions will go into effect Wednesday, September 20th and will remain in place until further notice. The village says this is to ensure there is enough water for drinking, fire protection, and sanitary services.

According to the village, Dominion Creek, which supplies the community of McBride with drinking water, is experiencing “extremely low flows” because of the severe, ongoing drought conditions in the area.

Under the water restrictions, lawn and garden sprinkling, outdoor hand watering and drip irrigation is not permitted. Residents are also to refrain from washing their vehicles, building exteriors, driveways, and sidewalks.

Bulk water use, such as filling swimming pools, hot tubs, garden ponds, and fountains is also not permitted.

Karen DubÔ© with the Village told The Goat the municipality has opened its Emergency Operations Centre at Level 1.

The village said it recognizes “the community and social value” of the Robson Valley Community Centre and Recreation Centre facilities, adding that staff have confirmed with the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George (RDFFG) that water use for operating the facility is permitted, including ice making.

“The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George will be determining operating procedures that will help conserve water at the Recreation Centre and Community Centre,” DubÔ© said.

An open house and information session regarding drought and water usage restrictions will be held a the Robson Valley Community Centre on Thursday, September 28th at 7 p.m. to provide residents a better understanding of the need for the water usage restriction order. Speakers at the event will include representatives from the village and RDFFG, the McBride District Volunteer Fire chief David Hruby, and a hydrologist from Core6 Environmental Ltd.

On September 14th, the province raised the drought level in the Robson Valley to level 5, which is the highest level on the scale.

The Village issued a water conservation notice on May 17th, and an Urgent Need for Water Conservation News Release on July 11th.

Learn more by visiting the B.C. Drought Information Portal.