by EVAN MATTHEWS
With little to no short-term economic benefit, one might ask, why conserve water? The Village of Valemount has someone to help educate people on the topic.
Madeline Pickerl, the summer ambassador for the Columbia Basin Water Smart Program, said the biggest draw to conserving water is caring for our environment.
Pickerl said while many people are climate conscious, it can be easy to take water for granted in Valemount from a financial standpoint.
“We’re not being metered, so sometimes it’s harder to care,” said Pickerl. “Ultimately, our water use plays a role on the sustainability of Swift Creek, which is where we get our water.”
A common mistake is over-watering of residential lawns, Pickerl said. Rather than figuring out why a lawn has a yellow spot — maybe the sprinkler isn’t reaching that part — the resident just waters longer, she said.
A Village bylaw states residents can only water from 7 AM to 10 AM, and from 7 PM to 10 PM. After two warnings, a bylaw officer can issue a ticket, Pickerl said.
If a resident is watering during hours they aren’t supposed to, Pickerl said she will place a yellow flag in their lawn, which has the link to the CBT Water Smart website in order to educate the resident. This is separate from a bylaw warning.
Residents shouldn’t expect to see big monetary savings in the near future from conserving, but water conservation can lead to long-term savings in the form of taxpayer’s dollars. July is peak season for water usage, Pickerl said, and the added demand for water places stress on Valemount’s water treatment plant.
“It’s really hard on the operating system to pump out that much water,” said Pickerl. “By us conserving, we’re not adding stress on the infrastructure, so we’re saving long-term maintenance, repair and expansion.”
To encourage conservation, Pickerl is offering a free 30-minute water assessment, and a free hose timer to help prevent over watering. Residents can call 250-566-3955 to book an assessment.
“You’ll learn how much water your lawn needs; who knows that?” she asked. “I didn’t.”