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

Son of slain former Hells Angel is one of two men sentenced for crime spree

Pair’s 2017 series of Lower Mainland robberies stretched from Surrey to Mission

‘Person of interest’ identified after suspicious meat left in North Delta park

Piles of meat have been dumped near the 63rd Avenue trail entrance four times in the last 30 days

Fundraiser launched for South Surrey stabbing victim’s funeral

Paul Prestbakmo remembered for ‘amazing smile, great soul’

Surrey-raised Merkules raps his way around the world

Cole Stevenson opens up about his ‘Scars,’ a hit remix of ‘Old Town Road’ and how he’s pals with Shaq

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Mouse infestation hit Langley hospital’s kitchens

Droppings and urine were found by Fraser Health inspectors in the spring

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

B.C. mom mourns 14-year-old son whose fatal overdose was posted online

Chantell Griffiths misses the son she hadn’t seen much in recent years

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Oppenheimer Park residents told to leave, clear out tents by Aug. 21

Police say park has seen influx of residents, violence in recent months

Most Read

l -->