Harrison Lake reached near record highs this past summer and has since settled down to more average numbers. (Adam Louis/Observer)

Harrison Lake reached near record highs this past summer and has since settled down to more average numbers. (Adam Louis/Observer)

Local water levels stable but drought concerns persist

Even through wetter weather, much of southern B.C. is under high drought category

Even with wetter weather heralding the change in seasons, concerns about drought conditions remain.

According to the latest from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, much of the eastern Fraser Valley – including Agassiz-Harrison – is under drought level 4, the second-highest level of severity. According to the ministry, this means some adverse impacts to the ecosystem and the socioeconomic climate are likely.

Locally speaking, five monitoring reports from Harrison Mills, Harrison Hot Springs and the Agassiz area all look quite different from each other. As of Tuesday, the Fraser River near Agassiz is about four times as high as it normally is this time of year at 12.68 metres (normal levels for Sept. 14 are about 3.44 metres). Harrison River at Harrison Mills is about twice the normal level at 6.99 metres (normally 3.12 metres this time of year).

RELATED: B.C. urged to conserve water as drought conditions persist through summer’s end

Elsewhere on the Harrison River below Morris Creek, levels have been holding steady at 9.21 metres, just below the normal level of 9.25 metres. Fraser River at Harrison Mills was also very close to the average at 6.77 metres, the normal levels being 6.79 metres.

Harrison Lake approached record levels earlier this year due to heavy snow melt along the higher elevations of the Lillooet River, just 0.7 metres short of the all-time maximum level of 13.30 metres. As of Sept. 14, the lake’s levels are at about 9.45 metres, about 0.2 metres shy of the normal levels of 9.64.

RELATED: Where’s the beach? High Harrison Lake levels caused local flooding worries

According to a recent statement from the provincial government, if conservation measures do not make an impact on current drought conditions, the province may curtail water use for industrial and agricultural users under the Water Sustainability Act.

Here are some ways you can help conserve water at home:Limit outdoor watering

Do not water during the hottest part of the day or when it’s windy

Consider investing in drought-tolerant vegetation

Take shorter showers

Don’t leave taps running

Install water-efficient fixtures

– With files from John Boivin

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