**courtesy of the Cowichan Watershed Board**
(Duncan, BC) As the spring weather beckons Cowichan residents out to their gardens, the Cowichan Watershed Board has been eagerly soaking up the 2017 water data reports of the Cowichan Water Conservation Challenge, hoping for signals that all the collective efforts to save water are paying off!
The Challenge is a five-year initiative to track and reduce residential water use by 20%, measured across seven participating water districts. Launched in July 2014 as a collaboration of local governments responding to an extreme drought, the challenge engages residents from across the Regional District in a collective race to learn how to stretch our water budgets to meet the needs of the future.
Lowering water demand is a good idea because of: 1) currently declining summer water supplies in some areas, with longer, drier summers predicted region-wide for the future; 2) a growing population using finite water resources, and 3) gaps in our understanding about groundwater and the cumulative impacts of many users drawing on the same aquifers. Lower water demand also reduces costs for water infrastructure, particularly the costs of meeting peak summer needs.
The 2017 results are mix of amazing, good and concerning news. The good news is that of the four water districts reporting this year, two have either reached or are very close to reaching the goal of 20% reduction in per capita residential water use. Also, all areas are showing a trend towards lower water use.
The amazing news is that residents served by the Town of Ladysmith water systems used just 189 litres per person per day. While this is still more than residents of Germany (122 LPD), it is significantly lower than the Canadian average (251 LPD). Thank you Ladysmith! (Note that this was a big drop from the previous year, and may represent a data ‘hiccup’ (e.g. new unoccupied homes) so we’re keen to see Ladysmith keep it up!)
Cowichan Bay residents have shown a steady and impressive improvement in water conservation since the Challenge began, currently leading the group with a 27% drop in annual residential use compared to 2013.
Concerns remain that given future climate and population growth forecasts, we need to do more to use less.
The Cowichan Watershed Board would like to applaud our most water wise residents for leading the way to a sustainable future. The 2017 Water Challenge results are provided in the attached backgrounder. BC Water Week 2018 - Water Challenge media release
David Slade, Drillwell Enterprises, Cowichan Watershed Board Member, Founder of the Cowichan Water Conservation Challenge / firstname.lastname@example.org / 250-743-4747