A Thirst for Water
Clean, safe and abundant water is essential for life. That’s why it’s crucial that we all respect and protect our drinking water sources.
Canadians use a lot of water. In fact, we rank 28th out of 30 nations belonging to the Organization for Economic and Cooperative Development (OECD) when it comes to overall water consumption.
Conserving water is easy and makes good sense from an economic, social, and environmental standpoint.
Be Water Smart
The RDCK Water Smart Ambassador provides free assessments of your outdoor watering needs through irrigation and xeriscaping assessments during the summer months. For 2018, this gave residents in participating communities access to materials such as drip irrigation kits, water saving grass seeds, hose timers, information on water saving alternatives, and much more.
About the program
The Water Smart Ambassador Program was developed by the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) to address high seasonal outdoor water use and help achieve the basin wide reduction goal of 20% in the Columbia Basin. The RDCK and the Town of Creston have participated in the Ambassador program since 2010 and the central region joined in 2016. A total of 11 communities participated in 2017. The role of the Water Smart Ambassador is to raise awareness of water conservation and engage local residents to reduce outdoor water use. In the summer months the Water Smart Ambassador provides free residential irrigation assessments and commercial building water assessments.
For 2018, the following communities participated in the Water Smart program:
- Lucas Road
- South Slocan
- West Robson
- Grandview Properties
- Woodland Heights
- Woodbury Village
- McDonald Creek
The Water Smart Ambassador Program focused on smarter landscape and garden choices with xeriscaping theory in mind. In short, xeriscaping is the use of native, drought tolerant plants. Xeriscaping theory involves seven principles that allow us to continue enjoying our outdoor spaces while using less water. The seven principles include planning and design, soil preparation, practical turf areas, selection of appropriate plants, mulching, efficient irrigation and maintenance. Using this method allows us to create eco-friendly landscapes that reduce water consumption and promote climate resilience. You can book a xeriscaping assessment with the Water Smart Ambassador and discuss ways to apply xeriscaping to your outdoor space.
Check our website in the spring to find out details of the 2019 Water Smart Amabassador Program.
During the growing season water use can increase by as much as 200%. While lawns require a lot of water, much of this water is wasted due to over-watering and evaporation. Avoid watering in the hot sun. You’ll lose almost 50% of the water to evaporation.
Watering equipment also plays a part in how much water is saved and lost. Ideally, sprinklers should be suited to the size and shape of the lawn. That way, you avoid watering driveways and sidewalks. Installing timers on outdoor taps can be a wise investment.
Sprinklers that lay water down in a flat pattern are better than oscillating sprinklers which lose as much as 50% of what they disperse through evaporation. Drip irrigation systems which apply water only to the roots zone are the most efficient alternative.
By adopting some indoor and outdoor water-savvy habits around your home, you can ensure that there is adequate water supply for everyone!
- Practice xeriscapic landscaping techniques. Xeriscaping is the practice of planting with native or drought-tolerant plants. Some examples include: osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera), dull Oregon grape (Mahonia nervosa), oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor), or Mock orange (Philadelphus lewisii). Consult with your local garden centre for details on which types and varieties of plants fit this category.
- Wash your car infrequently, or better, don’t wash your car at all.
- Purchase a rain barrel to collect rainwater which can then be applied to your lawn & garden.
- Get rid of your lawn. Instead, plant native ground cover such as kinnick-kinnick or cotoneaster. Not only do these plants require less water, they don’t need mowing, and stay green all summer.
- Plant more trees and shrubs on your property to keep your house cool and to protect your garden from drying out. Compost the leaves that fall in the autumn.
- Apply compost to your gardens. This helps soils to retain moisture and reduces the need to water as often.
- If you have a lawn, water it infrequently. This promotes deep roots and heartier lawns. Grasses are typically very tough. One inch of water per week will keep your lawn happy.
- If you use a sprinkler, avoid using the “mist” setting. Misting just encourages water to evaporate into the air before it hits the plants. Water only in the morning and early evening. This, too, reduces evaporation.
- Renovating your bathroom? Invest in a low-flow or a dual flush toilet and save up to 30% of your daily water usage.
- Install low-flow showerheads. They deliver 10 liters of water per minute. Conventional showerheads deliver 20-28 liters per minute.
- Take shorter showers (maximum 5 minutes) or, when taking a bath, use less water in the tub.
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or when soaping your hands during washing.
- Only run your dishwasher when it has a full load of dirty dishes. Some dishwashers even have a water saving cycle. Make use of it. When you don’t have a full load of dishes, use your sink.
- If you like drinking cold water, try storing water in a container in the refrigerator. This way you don’t have to run the tap to make the water cold. Running the tap wastes 20-28 litres of water per minute.
- Buying a new clothes washer? Invest in a front loading machine, they are exponentially more efficient (save energy, detergent and water!) Plus they are easier on your clothes and you may qualify for a rebate from your energy provider.
- When washing your clothes, use the correct setting (e.g. small, medium, large) to match the amount of clothing you have. Use the shortest possible cycle.
- Toilets can account for up to 30% of all inside water use. Place a brick wrapped in plastic in your toilet tank to reduce the amount of water used per flush. Remember to wrap the brick in plastic to prevent grit from entering your plumbing. A plastic pop bottle filled with water or sand and capped will also do the trick.
Water Smart-approved Helpful Resources for Irrigation and Xeriscaping
We have gathered a collection of helpful websites for irrigation, xeriscaping, and native plants.
All RDCK Water Systems
Stage 1 Water Conservation Measures go into effect every year regardless of seasonal weather patterns. These measures are in effect June 1st to September 30th. The Regional District may, upon notification, impose further water conservation measures (Stages 2 - 4) as necessary.
These restrictions apply to all commercial and residential customers who receive their water supply from a Regional District water system.
Click HERE for a complete description of Water Conservation Measures Stages 1 - 4 for all systems.
The content on this page was last updated March 11 2019 at 1:55 PM