August 22, 2013 - 11:29 AM
VERNON – The deadline to join hundreds of Okanagan residents in pledging to conserve water this summer is midnight on Friday.
The contest is a valley-wide effort by the Okanagan Basin Water Board, its Okanagan WaterWise program, and local government and water utility partners throughout the valley to encourage outdoor water conservation in the summer, when most water is used.
“We’re very happy with the numbers coming in so far,” Corinne Jackson, Communications Director with the OBWB said. “We’ve had more than 600 entries this year, so far, compared to a total of 237 last year.”
Residents can find tips to make water work more effectively in their yards, take the pledge to “Make Water Work” and be entered to win $5,000 in water-wise yard improvements donated by KelownaGardens.com on the WaterWise website.
Instead of shaming residents to use less, the unique campaign encourages people to make their water work more effectively for them. The campaign includes tips like: “Don’t mow. Let it grow; Water stays longer when grass is longer; Put water where it’s needed; Water plants, not pavement; and Put water on the nightshift. Water between dusk and dawn.”
“We’re not saying rip out your lawns, just make water work more effectively. If you want to do more, then certainly consider over-seeding your lawn with drought-tolerant seed, or xeriscaping with low-water plantings," Jackson said.
According to the board, the average amount of water used per person by Okanagan residents in the summer is 1,000 litres. At the same time, the Okanagan is known to have less fresh water available per person than anywhere in Canada, Jackson said. In a unique study, the board found that 24 per cent of all water in the Okanagan – the second largest use of water – was by residents watering outdoors, mostly lawns.
With the prospect of a growing Okanagan population, and changing climate, Jackson said it makes sense to start conserving water now.
“When we consider that 24% of all our water – treated to drinking quality standards – is being poured on our lawns, sometimes pavement, and during the hottest part of the day when it just evaporates, it becomes clear that it wouldn’t take much for us to start saving water,” Jackson said.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013