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“A Water Conservation Strategy for British Columbia” was launched at the 1998 Annual Convention of the Union of BC Municipalities


"A Water Conservation Strategy for British Columbia" was developed by a working group chaired by Prad Khare. The Strategy will contribute to a sustained and healthy resource and provide a common framework for water management activities throughout the province by advancing water as a valuable resource which must be utilized efficiently, wisely and cost-effectively to sustain a high quality of social, environmental and economic well-being, for now and in the future.

Water, Water Everywhere….Does British Columbia Really Need a Water Conservation Strategy?


In 1992, co-authored papers by Tom Heath and Kim Stephens and by Ted van der Gulik (left) and Kim Stephens were published as an integrated magazine article. "Although there is a perception that BC is water-rich, the reality is that we are often seasonally water-short (mainly because of storage limitations) during the period when water demand is heaviest due to lawn and garden irrigation," wrote the authors in their opening paragraph.

Canadians Rank Among World’s Top Water Hogs

While public education and water restrictions help to conserve water, dramatic reductions can be achieved through water pricing. The City of Nanaimo employs water pricing that places the entire cost of water delivery on users without any subsidy from property tax. “That has had a huge impact. As (capital) costs have gone up, we’ve turned the water rates up and people have responded by turning their hoses off," reported Bill Sims.

Drought Response in Metro Vancouver: Car Dealers Embrace Water Conservation

When Stage 3 water restrictions were implemented by Metro Vancouver in July 2015, washing of vehicles was one of the activities that went from restricted to prohibited, unless it’s done at a commercial car wash. “Car dealers tend to be pretty good community supporters. It’s part of their DNA and with the current water situation they want to do their part," notes Blair Qualey, President of the New Car Dealers Association of B.C.

Drought Response in Los Angeles: Design Streets to Recharge Groundwater for Water Supply!

Green streets will be critical to satisfy a Los Angeles mandate to cut its use of imported water by half by 2024. When it rains, stormwater runoff flowing from a 124-acre drainage area through the project site will be captured and infiltrated to replenish the San Fernando Groundwater Basin. "We will achieve the water requirements we have to have to ensure water quality and storm runoff is at the highest standard,” said Enrique Zaldivar, director of L.A. Sanitation.

Monitoring the 2015 Drought in Metro Vancouver: Daily Consumption and Weekly Reservoir Levels

In July 2015 Metro Vancouver moved to Stage 3 water restrictions – banning all lawn sprinkling with treated drinking water and bringing in a number of other water conservation measures. “We need to reduce our discretionary use of water including lawn sprinkling and washing cars,” said Board Chair Greg Moore. “Our reservoir levels need to be maintained for priority needs in our homes and businesses, and for community needs like fire protection.”

Impact of a Changing Climate: “We will look back at 2015 as THE teachable year,” stated Kim Stephens in media interviews about the long-term impact of drought conditions in Southwest British Columbia

“The ‘new normal’ in British Columbia is drought and flooding. The summer dry season has extended on both ends and communities can no longer count on a predictable snowpack and reliable rain to maintain a healthy water balance in their watersheds. This is putting water supply systems and ecosystems under extreme stress. If we seize the moment, we will change how we do business and the cumulative benefits will ripple through time,” stated Kim Stephens.

Leading by Example in BC: Water Smart Ambassador Program in the Columbia Basin region

“The lessons learned by Basin communities are relevant to any community trying to reduce peak demand driven by irrigation. To measurably reduce irrigation demand through residential water conservation outreach, you need a strong tool kit that includes good data and great personalities who are meeting people right at their homes and places of work,” said Neal Klassen.