Comox Valley Water Efficiency Plan sets regional target: 27% reduction in annual water use by 2014
A Regional Perspective on Water Supply in the Comox Valley
“Development activity and population growth is putting extreme pressure on our regional water resources, both in terms of protecting water supply sources and preventing rainwater runoff impacts in streams and rivers,” states Michael Zbarsky, Engineering Analyst with the Comox Valley Regional District.
“A key message is that the Comox Valley needs to use less water for a number of reasons; in particular, using less water will result in infrastructure cost savings ….because we can reduce the sizes of treatment and transmission facilities.”
“Also, three times in recent years we have exceeded the Water Licence limit for withdrawals from Comox Lake; and this has happened at a time when the reliability of supply is increasingly of concern.”
“In 2009, the weather extremes and the resulting impacts on the Comox Lake water supply have highlighted concerns about the way we develop and service communities. The good news is that climate impacts on the water cycle have at least created a teachable moment for water-centric planning.”
Draft Water Efficiency Plan
“In terms of a ‘teachable moment’, the release of the Draft Water Use Efficiency Plan in June 2009 was perfect timing,” notes Michael Zbarsky. “Because 2009 is the driest year in the 41-year recorded history for Comox Lake we had the attention of the public.”
“The teachable moment creates the window of opportunity to change behaviour,” continues Kim Stephens, Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.
“Reachable, teachable – that’s the sequence. Reachable means people have their minds open and are receptive to the teachable lesson (moment). They’re listening!”
Water Consumption and Reduction
“Water consumption in the Comox Valley is relatively high, and is close to 550 litres per capita per day. We know that we can be more efficient to reduce wasteful use; and do it without impacting on lifestyles,” reports Michael Zbarsky.
“The Draft Plan first introduces and assesses various measures that would improve efficient and reduce water use; and then identifies how a 40% total reduction could be achieved by 2014. Universal water metering would account for half the projected reduction.”
“But our target is a 27% reduction by 2014. We are in the process of deciding which measures will be included in the implementation program. The 27% target is what it will take for the Comox Lake Water System to achieve compliance with provincial Water Licence requirements.”
Understanding the Context
To learn more about the context for watershed protection, population-support capacity, infrastructure upgrading and implementation issues in the Comox Valley, click on A Regional Perspective on Water Supply in the Comox Valley.
This was the fourth in a series of articles that elaborated on the curriculum for the 2009 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series.
Posted October 2009