The revised B.C. Water Conservation (Plumbing) Regulation, which took effect September 30th, 2005, requires that all new toilets installed in the areas specified below must be six-litre, low-consumption models.
The following hints will help both residents and growers assess their watering practices over the last growing season and consider improvements for next year.
A water bailiff was hired for the summer of 2005 to help enforce Peachland’s watering restrictions, and to gain a better understanding of how water is used by both residents and growers. This will help the district make sound water management decisions now and in the future.
The City of Salmon Arm’s WaterWise program manager, Eugene Lalonde, can now say with certainty that “residents favour wise water use.” Findings from in-home water audits conducted during the summer of 2005 show conclusively that residents are becoming more aware of the need for water-use efficiency, and are more prepared to take the necessary steps to achieve it.
During the summer of 2005, the City of Penticton’s Water Smart Ambassadors surveyed residents to determine their watering habits. They were thrilled to find that 99 percent of those surveyed agreed that water conservation is important, and that the majority of residents have adopted the City’s new watering restrictions.
On July 20, 2005, the Village of Lumby launched its Water-use Efficiency Program. In keeping with the newly adopted Water Conservation and Drought Contingency Plan, a Stage-1 water conservation threshold was declared that introduced water sprinkling regulations, a public education program, and a more stringent water level monitoring program for village wells. This was well received by residents, and resulted in excellent voluntary compliance.
Vernon was one of the first cities in Western Canada to implement a comprehensive water-use efficiency program, including universal metering and conservation retrofits, a volume-based rate structure, toilet replacement rebates, and public education.
Sun Peaks Utilities Co. is a privately operated utility that provides water, wastewater, and gas service to about 5,000 residents at Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops. Since the resort was opened in 1992, water conservation has been a major focus. The resort has implemented universal metering, made low-flow plumbing fixtures mandatory, and encouraged minimal landscaping in its efforts to reduce water use. Although Sun Peaks’ groundwater sources are reliable, so that supply is not a significant issue, the water savings that can be achieved through conservation reduce the costs of water treatment and wastewater disposal, and increase the number of housing units that can be serviced from the existing water supply.
A directed studies project initiated in January 2004 set out to investigate performance measurement of water conservation programs in B.C. and other jurisdictions. One case study of note involves the South East Kelowna Irrigation District (SEKID), where 85 percent of the water supply is used to irrigate crops. Metering these agricultural connections has not only reduced water demand, but has also made it possible to verify actual water requirements, both for individual landowners and for the district as a whole.
According to a recent Water Conservation Survey conducted by B.C.’s Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection and the BCWWA’s Water Sustainability Committee, the majority of water utilities are anticipating that population growth in their regions will necessitate system expansion.