Summer is heating up, putting additional demands on our water supplies. Traditionally, the region begins to observe slow increases in volume usage beginning late April and into May.
This year a cool, wet spring helped to ease the pressure on the water utilities pumping and treating infrastructure.
The downside was when summer came, temperatures soared and we were plunged into a heat wave.
It takes a few weeks of slowly raising temperatures to allow people, animals and the land to adjust to summer conditions.
When the heat comes suddenly, with moisture still in the air and soil, it can be shocking.
Humidity makes the temperature feel hotter.
In response to those conditions, people crank up the air conditioner, turn on the sprinklers and use water, water and more water.
That can be hard on water utility infrastructure; intake, pumping and treatment plants.
In the Okanagan consumption is 675 litres per person per day, twice the Canadian average.
Watering restrictions are devised to balance the demand on the water system, as well as conserve water.
We can make water work and get the most from our water by following some simple steps:
o Water landscape, gardens and agricultural crops at or between dusk and dawn. Up to 50 per cent of the water evaporates when watering in the hot sun.
o Water plant material only — grass, gardens, lawn and crops — not pavement, roadways or sidewalks. Outdoor water consumption accounts for 24 per cent of household water use.
o Leave grass five to eight centimetres (two to three inches) long and leave clippings as mulch.
o Aerate and top dress your lawn with an inch of compost in the fall.
o Change out conventional lawn for drought tolerant turf, or turf some turf, and remove some lawn.
To inspire Okanagan residents to Make Water Work, local governments and the Regional District have partnered with the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s Waterwise program.
Take the WaterWise pledge for a chance to win $5,000 WaterWise yard improvements and makeover.
Log on to www.MakeWaterWork.ca, take the pledge to do one or more of the steps above, and you will be entered to win.
If you do not have the need for a makeover, you can gift it to a registered charity of your choice.
A win-win for everyone, and our precious water resource.