Since most human activities and ecosystem health are dependent on reliable, adequate water supplies, droughts present a serious national threat to Canada. Large-area droughts have major impacts on a wide range of water-sensitive sectors including agriculture, industry, municipalities, recreation, and aquatic ecosystems. They often stress water supplies by depleting soil moisture reserves, reducing streamflows, lowering lake and reservoir levels, and diminishing groundwater supplies. This in turn affects several economic activities: for example, decreased agricultural production, less hydroelectric power generation, and increased marine transportation costs. In addition, droughts have major environmental implications such as reduced water quality, wetland loss, soil erosion and degradation, and ecological habitat destruction.
B.C.’s water purveyors are finding it increasingly difficult to supply the water needs of a growing population. When the effects of climate change, global warming, and an increase in the frequency and severity of drought occurrences are added, the situation becomes even more difficult. Water supply must be maintained even during times of drought. Developing new sources of water is often prohibitively expensive or is simply not possible. Therefore, to withstand the effects of drought, efforts must be made to conserve water resources that are currently being utilized.