Water conservation education needed

Water usage is down overall, but those thirsty lawns still gobble it up

After the blistering heat of the past few weeks — now broken much to the relief of many — more than a few lawns in Kimberley are baked brown.

But there are many that are kept green with watering and the message from City Hall is that while watering is permitted, there are guidelines that can lead to more effective sprinkling and can save water at the same time.

Council received a Water Smart Report this week that outlined where there has been progress in water waste, and where there is room for improvement.

Kimberley’s overall water usage is down — a 13 per cent decrease since 2011. A lot of that is due to improvements in the city’s water data collection infrastructure.

The City is also utilizing a systematic and coordinated effort  to locate and repair leaks in the system as well as water loss management and irrigation best practices.

Still, there are peak flow times, such as the recent heat wave, when water demand is quite high. And the largest contributor to the high demand is lawn watering.

Kimberley is under voluntary water restrictions. Residents are asked to water only every second day and to water early in the morning and in the evening when the sun is not directly overhead.

But Coun. Bev Middlebrook says that it is obvious that not everyone is getting that message.

“I grew up in Saskatchewan where water was scarce,” she said.

“Since moving to Kimberley I have come to respect the abundance of water we have. But just because we don’t have a shortage doesn’t mean we should be wasteful. I see sprinklers on for 12 hours. I see sprinkler on in the 37 degree heat, in the sun, for hours. We need more education.”

Mayor Ron McRae said the guidelines are voluntary but it was a good point.

Coun. Albert Hoglund said the information on conserving water goes out every year, but obviously some people are not reading it.

Kimberley does not have a  Water Smart Ambassador at the moment, as the last one left the job. McRae said the city was negotiating with Cranbrook to borrow their employee two days a week to bring the conservation message to residents.