The province of BC uses four core indicators and additional supplemental indicators to establish:

  • if there is a drought or a possibility of drought
  • what the drought level is at a given point in time.

Core Indicators

The province measures the following four indicators to establish whether there is a drought:

  • Basin snow indices
  • Seasonal volume runoff forecasts
  • 30 percent of average precipitation
  • 7-day average streamflow

The drought level is linked to a threshold established for each of the core indicators (see page 14 of the British Columbia Drought Response Plan).

In addition, the following supplemental indicators also help assess the situation.

  • Aquifer levels
  • Individual hydrometric station results
  • Multi-year trends
  • Reservoir inflows
  • Wildfire danger class ratings

For more information:

Drought Information, Government of BC
British Columbia Drought Response Plan

Source: British Columbia Drought Response Plan, June 2010


BC Ministry of the Environment

River Forecast Centre

The River Forecast Centre collects and interprets snow, meteorological and streamflow data to provide warnings and forecasts of stream and lake runoff conditions around BC.

Water Conservation Tips Brochure

Easy to implement tips on saving water in the kitchen, the garden, the bathroom and the laundry.

Easy Actions to Do
Water conservation and quality protection tips from the BC Ministry of the Environment


BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands

Drought Strategies

Information on efficient water use in the management of irrigation, crops, soil, livestock, pasture & range.

Water for Agriculture

BC Government's Living Water Smart


Environment Canada

Water Survey Canada

Real time hydrometric data

Get Involved - Start Saving Water Today

Small steps each of us can take to use water more wisely, both inside and outside the home.


The Nicola watershed is one of the driest regions of British Columbia. All residents and all sectors must practice water conservation and use water wisely. Please do your part to conserve this vital resource. Click on the headings below to find out how.

In periods of drought, a plan for effective communication is essential to address and mitigate drought/low flow impacts to the environment, economy and communities.

In 2010, the Nicola Watershed Community Round Table developed the Communication Plan for Low Flows in the Nicola Watershed in consultation with government representatives, water purveyors and water users. The Plan was developed to provide coordination for a drought response and to build awareness and understanding of the roles of government agencies (federal, provincial and local), local stewardship groups and others in responding to drought.

The partners in the Communication Plan are:

  • BC provincial government
  • City of Merritt and the Water Resource Advisory Committee
  • Nicola Stockbreeders’ Association
  • Miller's Sunshine Valley Estates Society
  • Nicola Watershed Community Round Table

The communication activities to be undertaken by each partner in response to drought or the possibility of drought are defined in the Plan. They include news releases to the public, and information bulletins to appropriate agencies, water suppliers, First Nations, industry and stewardship groups, major licensees and other key stakeholders. Partners will be responsible for advising affected groups of current or expected conditions and recommending actions that can be taken in response to drought conditions.

Drought Level Sign

As part of its commitment to provide ongoing information about drought to the residents of the Nicola watershed, the Round Table, in a partnership with the Province of BC and the City of Merritt, installed a drought level sign. The drought level for the watershed will be set by the Province and communicated to the Round Table. A member of the Round Table will then place a marker on the sign to indicate the drought level. This information will be updated as necessary and the marker will remain on the sign between May and October. The sign is located on Voght Street in Merritt. The Round Table hopes to construct two more signs and place them on Highway 8 and Highway 5A


Click here to view drought levels in each region of BC.

Visit the Nicola Watershed Community Round Table Blog

You can provide information on current conditions in your area of the Nicola watershed and join the discussion on our blog.