Water Conservation

This page contains information on what you can do to conserve water indoors and outdoors, the Water Smart Ambassador Program, and RDCK water conservation measures.      

A Thirst for Water

Clean, safe and abundant water is essential for life. That’s why it’s crucial that we all respect and protect our drinking water sources.

Canadians use a lot of water. In fact, we rank 28th out of 30 nations belonging to the Organization for Economic and Cooperative Development (OECD) when it comes to overall water consumption.

Conserving water is easy and makes good sense from an economic, social, and environmental standpoint.

Be Water Smart

The Regional District has participated in the Columbia Basin Trust Water Smart program for 6 years in Erickson and 1 year in the central region. Water Smart aims to achieve a 20% Basin-wide reduction in community water consumption. While the formal CBT Water Smart program has come to a close, the RDCK continued to offer the program in 10 participating communities in 2017.  This included a strategy to reduce system leakage, increase efficiency, and reduce outdoor water usage.  The following communities participated in the RDCK Water Smart program:

  • Erickson / Creston
  • Balfour
  • Woodland Heights
  • Duhamel
  • Grandview Properties
  • South Slocan
  • Woodbury Village
  • West Robson
  • Ymir
  • Lucas Road

Water Smart Ambassador Program

The Water Smart Ambassador Program was developed by the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) to address high seasonal outdoor water use and help achieve the basin wide reduction goal of 20% in the Columbia Basin. The RDCK and the Town of Creston have participated in the Ambassador program since 2010 and the central region joined in 2016.   A total of 11 communities participated in 2017.  The role of the Water Smart Ambassador is to raise awareness of water conservation and engage local residents to reduce outdoor water use.  In the summer months the Water Smart Ambassador provides free residential irrigation assessments and commercial building water assessments.

The Ambassador is available to book an assessment at your convenience.  In 30 minutes the Ambassador will:

  • Assess your soil conditions;
  • Identify current watering practices and look for ways to conserve water;
  • Determine the watering needs of the landscape;
  • Assess your manual or automatic watering system and make changes to increase efficiencies;
  • Set up your free garden hose timer; and
  • Enter you for a chance to win a free rain barrel prize draw!

To get in touch with the Water Smart Ambassador in Creston or Erickson please call (250) 254-0376 or email Watersmart@rdck.bc.ca.

What can you do to Conserve Water?

During the growing season water use can increase by as much as 200%. While lawns require a lot of water, much of this water is wasted due to over-watering and evaporation. Avoid watering in the hot sun. You’ll lose almost 50% of the water to evaporation.

Watering equipment also plays a part in how much water is saved and lost. Ideally, sprinklers should be suited to the size and shape of the lawn. That way, you avoid watering driveways and sidewalks. Installing timers on outdoor taps can be a wise investment.

Sprinklers that lay water down in a flat pattern are better than oscillating sprinklers which lose as much as 50% of what they disperse through evaporation. Drip irrigation systems which apply water only to the roots zone are the most efficient alternative.

By adopting some indoor and outdoor water-savvy habits around your home, you can ensure that there is adequate water supply for everyone!

Conserve Water Outdoors:

  • Practice xeriscapic landscaping techniques. Xeriscaping is the practice of planting with native or drought-tolerant plants. Some examples include: osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera), dull Oregon grape (Mahonia nervosa), oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor), or Mock orange (Philadelphus lewisii). Consult with your local garden centre for details on which types and varieties of plants fit this category.
  • Wash your car infrequently, or better, don’t wash your car at all.
  • Purchase a rain barrel to collect rainwater which can then be applied to your lawn & garden.
  • Get rid of your lawn.  Instead, plant native ground cover such as kinnick-kinnick or cotoneaster.  Not only do these plants require less water, they don’t need mowing, and stay green all summer.
  • Plant more trees and shrubs on your property to keep your house cool and to protect your garden from drying out.  Compost the leaves that fall in the autumn.
  • Apply compost to your gardens.  This helps soils to retain moisture and reduces the need to water as often.
  • If you have a lawn, water it infrequently.  This promotes deep roots and heartier lawns.  Grasses are typically very tough.  One inch of water per week will keep your lawn happy.
  • If you use a sprinkler, avoid using the “mist” setting. Misting just encourages water to evaporate into the air before it hits the plants. Water only in the morning and early evening. This, too, reduces evaporation.

Conserve Water Indoors:

  • Renovating your bathroom? Invest in a low-flow or a dual flush toilet and save up to 30% of your daily water usage.
  • Install low-flow showerheads. They deliver 10 liters of water per minute. Conventional showerheads deliver 20-28 liters per minute.
  • Take shorter showers (maximum 5 minutes) or, when taking a bath, use less water in the tub.
  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or when soaping your hands during washing.
  • Only run your dishwasher when it has a full load of dirty dishes. Some dishwashers even have a water saving cycle. Make use of it. When you don’t have a full load of dishes, use your sink.
  • If you like drinking cold water, try storing water in a container in the refrigerator. This way you don’t have to run the tap to make the water cold. Running the tap wastes 20-28 litres of water per minute.
  • Buying a new clothes washer? Invest in a front loading machine, they are exponentially more efficient (save energy, detergent and water!) Plus they are easier on your clothes and you may qualify for a rebate from your energy provider.
  • When washing your clothes, use the correct setting (e.g. small, medium, large) to match the amount of clothing you have. Use the shortest possible cycle.     
  • Toilets can account for up to 30% of all inside water use. Place a brick wrapped in plastic in your toilet tank to reduce the amount of water used per flush. Remember to wrap the brick in plastic to prevent grit from entering your plumbing. A plastic pop bottle filled with water or sand and capped will also do the trick.

Water Conservation Measures (water restrictions)

All RDCK Water Systems

Stage 1 Water Conservation Measures go into effect every year regardless of seasonal weather patterns.  These measures are in effect June 1st to September 30th.  The Regional District may, upon notification, impose further water conservation measures (Stages 2 - 4) as necessary.

These restrictions apply to all commercial and residential customers who receive their water supply from a Regional District water system.

Click HERE for a complete description of Water Conservation Measures Stages 1 - 4 for all systems.

For more information contact: (250) 352-8171.


The content on this page was last updated October 6 2017 at 1:55 PM