Individuals, families and communities are experiencing severe drought conditions this summer in British Columbia (BC), creating challenges for food security, water scarcity and wildfires. Despite sporadic rain in parts of BC, most regions are in a Drought level 4 or 5 classification, with level 5 being the highest and most extreme.
For First Nations people, water is sacred. Protecting and conserving water is essential to health, wellness and way of life of the whole planet, including all living beings. Water is not only part of our weather cycles, food, medicines and ceremonies but is also vital for fighting wildfires and maintaining air quality.
Everyone has a role to play in conserving water to ensure all beings have access to it when it's needed. This means reducing water usage where possible.
Outdoor water conservation tips:
Indoor water conservation tips:
First Nations communities can also take advantage of the British Columbia Drought and Water Scarcity Response Plan (PDF), which was updated in April of 2023. This document supports First Nations and local governments to prepare for and respond to water scarcity (drought).
Risks to drought are driven by more than just hot weather, such as increased demand for community water sources due to population growth, increased industrial and agricultural use, or firefighting. Loss of water can also happen due to the depletion of rivers and lakes due to climate or environmental changes, contamination of waters from pollution or other events, limits on available water storage, or water treatment infrastructure unable to keep up with demand.
The Province of BC can support First Nations communities to develop their drought response plans. As well, BC has funding available to help communities prepare for and mitigate disaster risk, including drought, under the $369 million Community Emergency Preparedness Fund.
For current drought conditions in your region of BC, refer to the Drought Information Portal.
FNHA Drought Planning and Response Guide for Communities (2-page PDF)