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B.C.'s Sunshine Coast orders businesses to stop using water amid drought

B.C.'s Sunshine Coast has declared a state of local emergency due to an ongoing drought, ordering businesses to stop using water over an "imminent threat" that the supply could be exhausted.

The regional district made the declaration Monday, as severe drought conditions persisted.

Swimming pools, breweries, non-medical cannabis producers< businesses that bottle water, and those that transport and install concrete, cement and gravel are among those being instructed to halt the use of potable water starting at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

Before the deadline, staff from the regional district will be contacting affected businesses directly to make sure they are aware of the order.

While the district says water supply has been secured to last its 20,000 residents until early November, the potential that there could be another weeks-long stretch without rain was cited as a reason to take emergency measures.

"We have unfortunately been left with no choice but to order non-essential large commercial users to cease their use of drinking water,” the regional district's board chair Darnelda Siegers wrote in a statement.

“At this time, we must prioritize our water supply for essential use by residents, the Sechelt Hospital and fire protection.”

Many parts of the province have had no rain so far in October and no significant precipitation since early July. High-temperature records have been shattered almost daily in communities across the province.


The BC Wildfire Service, in a series of social media posts, said the unseasonable conditions have increased fire activity on all of the active blazes in the zone that includes the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii.

" The Coastal Fire Centre is experiencing historical forest fuel conditions and outflow wind patterns. The unseasonably hot, dry conditions, lack of rainfall and outflow winds have resulted in increased fire behaviour on all active fires," the service tweeted.

"Smoke from 26 active fires in the Fraser Zone, combined with smoke from Washington State, has negatively impacted air quality and visibility throughout most of the Coastal Fire Centre, particularly in the Fraser Valley."

The BCWS says some relief from the smoky skies is possible Thursday, and that rain is in the forecast for the South Coast on Friday. Top Stories

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