B.C. drought: ‘If you’re using water you don’t need right now, it’s cutting into your food security’
As creeks and wells run dry, some B.C. farmers are trucking water to feed livestock, while others are reducing the size of their herds and anticipating crop loss.
Four B.C. regions, including the northeast, Bulkley Lakes, and east and west Vancouver Island are at drought Level 5, with much of the rest of the province at Level 4, according to a B.C. River Forecast Centre report released this week. Drought Level 5 means it is “almost certain” an area will see adverse effects on communities and ecosystems.
B.C. farmers are among the first to feel the impact.
“They’re calling me, almost choking in tears on the phone,” said Ian Paton, the B.C. United agriculture critic and a Delta MLA. “They’re saying, ‘I have to send half my herd to auction.’”
The Vanderhoof livestock auction is expecting 1,800 head of cattle next week, said Kevin Boon, general manager of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association. In a normal year, the auction might see 200 to 300 head at a July auction.