Columbia Basin Water Smart Initiative: Working at the Leading Edge of Water Loss Management


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“In just two years, 23 Water Smart communities in the Columbia Basin have reduced community water demand by an average of 12 per cent,” reports Meredith Hamstead

It has been three years since communities in the Canadian Columbia River Basin (in the southeast sector of British Columbia) started working with the Columbia Basin Water Smart Initiative (Water Smart). Since then they have taken a leadership role in British Columbia in the field of Water Loss Management (WLM). 

Over the last 3 years, 118 water utility staff have completed the field-leading training program for WLM. Water Smart is working to achieve a 20 per cent reduction in gross community water consumption among participating communities by 2015.

Reduce Leakage in the Distribution System

“Water Loss Management, or WLM,  is an important water utility best practice that is driving significant water conservation success in the Columbia Basin region of Meredith Hamstead_120pthe Province,” states Meredith Hamstead, Water Smart Coordinator.

“In just two years of program implementation, 23 Water Smart communities have reduced community water demand by an average of 12 per cent, with some achieving savings of more than 30 per cent. How? By focusing their conservation activities where the potential savings are biggest: reducing leakage in the distribution system.”

“Our research in the Basin found that an average of 40 per cent of treated water is being lost to leakage, with some communities experiencing over 70 per cent water loss.”

“This was a major surprise, but it turns out that the Basin data is reflective of the situation in many jurisdictions across North America. In response to these findings, in Columbia Basin Water Smart_process2012 Water Smart partnered with experts Joe McGowan from the City of Cranbrook, Jamie Eichenberger of IKEN Services, and Mike Ippen from the District of Saanich to develop and deliver an Environmental Operators Certification Program (EOCP) certified Comprehensive Water Loss Management Training Series over a two year period. The results so far have been impressive,” concludes Meredith Hamstead.


Columbia Basin Water Smart_mountain imageTo read the complete story posted on the Water Smart website, click on Basin Communities Work at the Leading Edge of Water Loss Management

Water Smart provides support to participating regional districts, municipalities and First Nations in the Columbia Basin to assess and address their water conservation needs and plan for the most locally effective actions to reduce community-wide water consumption. Learn more at For more information contact Meredith Hamstead.