Water $ave Tool Kit

As part of the Water $ave Tool Kit, a focus group was conducted to determine water industry representatives’ conservation challenges and potential solutions to those challenges. Participants in each of six groups identified and ranked key concerns prompting them to consider water conservation measures. Participants were grouped to guarantee a cross-section of industry expertise and experience in each group. Concerns were ranked accordingly:

  1. Limited source quantity
  2. Public apathy and lack of awareness
  3. Increasing infrastructure and treatment costs
  4. Impacts on water quality
  5. Agricultural demands
  6. Lack of integrated water management
  7. Urban growth
  8. Lack of commitment to demand management
  9. Public health concerns
  10. Impacts on fish habitat/flows
  11. Conflict among resource users
  12. Impacts on social and economic factors
  13. Climate change
  14. Impacts on ecosystems
  15. Aging infrastructure

Participants were then asked to identify barriers preventing them from addressing each concern. Common barriers included:

  • Lack of education and/or communication
  • Lack of political will
  • Cost
  • Lack of data
  • Lack of cooperation/coordination among stakeholders
  • Competing priorities
  • Lack of planning
  • Legislative inadequacies
  • Jurisdictional complexities

Participants then identified the tools and/or support they require to address each concern. Noted frequently were the need to:

  • Improve communication among all stakeholders
  • Educate all stakeholders, especially the public and elected officials
  • Promote demand management (e.g. meters, user-pay pricing)
  • Develop and enforce appropriate water conservation and planning legislation
    at all government levels
  • Enable and promote cooperation and coordination among all stakeholders
  • Enable and promote grass-roots stewardship
  • Identify and promote improved technologies
  • Collect and distribute appropriate water conservation and related data (e.g.
    climate change)
  • Develop and implement integrated planning and management systems
  • Allocate the water resource to reflect current needs and conditions
  • Provide adequate funding for water conservation initiatives

Participants went on to brainstorm benefits, barriers, tools, and support mechanisms in the following areas:

  • Agriculture
  • Allocation/water rights
  • Education
  • Land-use planning
  • Legislation/regulation
  • Metering
  • Pricing
  • Source-to-tap protection
  • Water supply planning

Detailed outcomes are reported in Water Conservation in BC: How Do We Move Forward From Here? (Live link to focus group outcomes)