Sun Peaks: Performance Measurement in the Resort Industry

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.

Program Delivery and Results

Because toilets represent one of the major components of Sun Peaks’ water use, the resort began to investigate ways to improve on water savings obtained from the mandatory use of 6-litre toilets. In 2001, the resort began a trial of 3/6-litre dual flush toilets in its administration building, and found that after one year, water use had declined by 49 percent. During the following summer, the water utility commissioned water audits of all the commercial properties at the resort. The audits revealed that many 6-litre toilets were actually using up to 11 litres per flush, and consequently were not producing the expected water savings. In August 2002, the utility changed its water tariff to require the installation of either 3/6-litre dual flush or 4-litre single flush toilets in all construction. Within the next few months, all buildings owned by the resort were retrofitted with dual-flush toilets and waterless urinals.

The water savings achieved by this initiative, as determined by correlating meter data with the number of skier visits, were substantial. Overall, water use in the resort-owned buildings decreased by 35 percent in three months following the retrofits, compared with the same three-month period during the previous year, and resulted in peak-day water savings on 14.3 m3 per day. The peak-day savings represent $28,000 of infrastructure capacity, and could service another eleven housing units. Water savings in the Daylodge were even more impressive: although skier visits increased 25 percent compared to the previous year, water use actually decreased for the first time ever, by 29 percent.

The measured water savings have been incorporated into future planning for the resort. Projected water use for each day skier has been revised from 50 litres per day to 15 litres per day, based on the savings achieved in the Daylodge. Projected water use for each overnight skier has been revised from 250 litres per person per day to 210 litres per person per day. These revised water use projections have significantly increased system capacity, without costly infrastructure expansion.

For more information contact Pat Miller at 250-578-5490 or