Cowichan Water Conservation Challenge Announced
News Release, Cowichan Watershed Board, June 5, 2014
Cowichan Water Conservation Challenge
Launched for World Environment Day
(Duncan) Today, Cowichan Watershed Board issues a challenge to all local water suppliers to “meet or beat Ladysmith’s current domestic water use level of 246 litres per person per day”. The Ladysmith target is a 24% improvement over the last decade, and about 75 litres below the Canadian average.
“Ladysmith has shown that cutting water waste is not only possible but financially prudent,” says David Slade, Cowichan Watershed Board member. “They are saving money on infrastructure and energy costs, while addressing growing water problems. Here in Cowichan Valley, while total annual precipitation levels haven’t changed much, climate change, a growing population, and other factors are causing summer water shortages. In recent years, we have seen terrible salmon losses and the near shut-down of Catalyst mill which relies on water from Cowichan Lake. Growing local food also depends on water. We all win by using water wisely.”
While impressive, the Ladysmith water use level is still nearly double Germany’s rate. On average Canadians use more water than any other people on the planet, more than double most European rates, which proves that we could live comfortably with a lot less water.
In the weeks and months ahead, the Watershed Board will be meeting with Cowichan Valley’s major water suppliers to share current research about the best ways to save water (and money). For example, fixing leaky pipes can save 15-70% of a municipality’s water use. Already, Lake Cowichan engineer Nagi Rizk has found major leaks thanks to new water meters, including one losing 1700 m3 of water a month!
Residents can help too. The Watershed Board will host events and educational campaigns about where our water comes from, benefits of conservation, and water saving tips. The Board will also encourage changes to water billing to provide information and economic incentives to curb water waste.
“Local governments and industries are already working to reduce water use, so this challenge is really about giving us all an ambitious but achievable goal to shoot for,” says Slade. “The Watershed Board will pursue a Black Tie Award for the community showing the best progress according to annual reporting.”
The Water Conservation Challenge is one of the Watershed Board’s seven targets related to the Cowichan Basin Water Management Plan. The seven targets include: 1) Clean Water in our Watershed; 2) Edible shellfish in Cowichan Bay; 3) Sustainable steelhead and salmon stocks; 4) Wise water use; 5) Residents clearly understand the nature of their water resources and value those resources; 6) Cowichan River summer water flows are maintained at levels that support the needs of people and fish; 7) Healthy shoreline habitats are protected and enjoyed.
David Slade, Drillwell Enterprises, Cowichan Watershed Board member / 250-746-5268
Rodger Hunter, Cowichan Watershed Board Coordinator / (250-710-7139)
Photo courtesy Eric Marshall