08/08/2014 05:42 EDT | Updated 10/08/2014 05:59 EDT

Level 3 drought prompts government to urge island residents to save water

VICTORIA - Level 3 drought conditions on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands have prompted the British Columbia government to ask residents to cut water consumption.

The weather is expected to remain hot and dry in the area and the Ministry of Natural Resource Operations is advising there may be a negative impact on stream flows if water isn't conserved.

The government is calling for water-use reductions of 20 per cent or more from all municipal, agricultural and industrial users.

While stream flows are low, groundwater measures taken at provincial observation wells also show low water levels and well owners are encouraged to save water.

If conditions reach a Level 4 drought, provincial water managers may use their authority to temporarily suspend short-term water permits or water licences in affected watersheds.

The ministry says if water levels go even lower the shortages could affect people, agriculture industry and fish stocks.