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Dry conditions on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and in northeastern British Columbia have prompted the provincial government to issue a level three drought rating.

The province says several important salmon streams on Vancouver Island are approaching critical environmental thresholds for ecosystems and fish.

The drought rating means conditions are very dry, prompting a request for voluntary reductions of water use by residents, on farms and by industry.

The government says if voluntary reductions don’t work to maintain stream flows above critical levels, it may consider regulating water use under the Water Sustainability Act.

Residents are urged to limit outdoor watering, take shorter showers and install water-efficient devices.

Farms are asked to improve water-system efficiencies, while industry is advised to cut non-essential water use and recycle when possible.