COLUMN: Waste not, water not

Water restrictions or not, it’s important we learn to conserve

B.C. residents take water for granted, but as we have discovered in this long, hot summer, it is far more important that we realize.

Imposition by Metro Vancouver of stage 3 water restrictions is a reminder of that.

The restrictions, which ban any sprinkling, car washing at home and swimming-pool refills, are the most severe to be imposed in the past 12 years.

And back in 2003, when they were last imposed, they didn’t come until much later in the summer.

That, of course, was the summer that saw massive wildfires in the B.C. interior, notably at Barriere and Kelowna.

While people living in the Lower Mainland tend to think that the interior is always hotter and drier, this year we have experienced conditions that aren’t all that different.

Rainfall that usually comes in May, June and July has been minimal – less than 10 per cent of normal.

A light snowpack has meant less water in rivers and reservoirs.

With no end to dry weather in sight, the restrictions are needed.

With that being acknowledged, the municipalities that deliver Metro Vancouver water could do a better job of setting a good example. Many parks have been drenched with water on a regular basis this summer. I’ve been to several where there is mud in places because of the drenching they receive.

The stage 3 restrictions theoretically prohibit municipalities from watering parks, but they always seem to find a way around those rules. Some limited sprinkling of sports fields and school play areas is still allowed. In some cases, where there is newly planted turf, it is understandable. However, that isn’t the case at most parks and it’s likely many will stay green all summer.

If citizens bother to complain, they are given a litany of excuses. And while homeowners can be fined for disobeying the rules, municipalities seem to be exempt from any punishment.

There is no need to water lawns or parks. Grass is quite able to withstand dry conditions – as we have seen many times in September, when the green grass returns after a few rainy days.

Plants do require water, but hand-watering is sufficient if done frequently enough. Of course, that’s harder to do on large properties. That’s where planting wisely comes in. Drought-resistant plants make the most sense.

As for car washing, commercial car washes are still operating and those desperate to wash their vehicles can go there.

Surrey and Delta have a lot of farms, and people will see fields being watered in the coming days and weeks. This, of course, is to allow crops to grow. Most farms have their own water systems, and most watering is done through water licences. They are not drawing down the Metro reservoirs, although some farms may find wells going dry.

Some common sense about water usage can go a long way.

B.C. is a long way from having California-style drought, but this year is a good reminder that we need to use water wisely.

We take it for granted because so much of it falls in the form of rain each year. Nonetheless, it is a precious resource that is absolutely essential to every form of life.

Using it wisely, as individuals, businesses and governments, should be something that we do automatically, no matter what time of year it is.

Frank Bucholtz – former editor of the Langley Times – writes Fridays for Peace Arch News. frank.bucholtz@gmail.com

Just Posted

A Grade 8 class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
B.C.’s return-to-school plan good, but Surrey teachers hope there is room for adjustments

Surrey school district to receive $1.76M of the $25.6M provincial pandemic-related funding

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Pier has reportedly been unused for a long time

A mixed-use development with 69 market rental units and 10 commercial units is proposed for the 2300-block of King George Boulevard. (Thinkspace rendering)
Pair of South Surrey apartment proposals move forward

Council gives third reading to rezoning applications for market-rental and residential projects

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read