Water Conservation

    The greening of tourist accommodation on Salt Spring Island

    The goal of this project was to look at how tourist accommodation operators on Salt Spring Island could adopt best water conservation practices. This tied into the 'Green Accommodations' initiative developed by the local Chamber of Commerce, one of the goals of which was to ensure that tourism on Salt Spring Island would become a beacon of environmental stewardship and a model for sustainability which the rest of the Gulf Islands could look to as an example of best practice in the industry.

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    Lumby water-use efficiency project

    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.

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    Watering Restrictions Conserve WID

    The Westbank Irrigation District (WID) is situated on the west side of Okanagan Lake opposite the City of Kelowna. The semi-arid Okanagan Valley is experiencing high population growth rates and the District is facing increasing pressures as it tries to manage water resources. The hot dry summer of 2003 prompted the District to look at ways to reduce peak water flows and conserve water. Due to limited water storage in its reservoirs, WID needed to encourage conservation to ensure the sustainability of the delivery system. Water conservation would also help to decrease treatment costs and capital expenditures for the future construction of a new water treatment plant.

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    We take our water for granted

    Because we undervalue our precious water resource, we tend to overuse it and, in fact, abuse it. The apparent abundance of water is deceptive, and the capacity of our lakes and rivers – and even of the oceans – to purify the wastes we dump into them is much more limited than we once thought it was. There is a price for it: billions and billions of dollars to clean up or prevent pollution. It is becoming abundantly clear that water is not a free good. Sooner or later it presents us with a bill: the price of neglect. In many cases we pay less than the actual cost of processing and delivery. For example, irrigation water charges only recover about 10% of the actual costs of the service. The same is true, to a less extreme extent, for water costs to householders.

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    Canadians support conservation

    Probe Research Inc. has conducted its second national analysis of Canadians’ attitudes and behaviors on a wide range of drinking water issues. Entitled A Clear Perspective of Canadians and their Drinking Water (2004), the study tracks several important areas from a previous research project conducted in 2002. In addition, several new areas were explored, such as Canadians’ current efforts to conserve water.

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    What can a small African insect teach us about water conservation? Quite a lot as it turns out. By observing how the Namibian desert beetle survives in the Namib Desert’s perpetually dry climate, a British architectural designer came up with a new way to harvest water. This demonstrated that big ideas could indeed come from the smallest of sources.

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