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

Structure fire closes section of Fraser Highway

RCMP have closed Fraser Highway down to traffic from 152 Street to 88 Avenue

Surrey RCMP search for missing 17-year-old girl

Mikayla Logan was last seen in Guildford on Tuesday, May 14

COLUMN: ‘Smart growth’ lacking in Surrey

Surrey council’s approval of infrastructure projects in the Tynehead area shows the… Continue reading

GALLERY: Cloverdale Rodeo Parade brings thousands through the town centre

From ponies to hot rods, the 73rd annual parade had it all

Free winter parking, higher summer rates eyed for White Rock waterfront

Councillor calls for more hard data on the impact of trial free parking on Marine Drive businesses

Jeep totalled, four young people in hospital, after single-vehicle crash in Surrey

Mounties have not ruled out any possible factors in what led to the overnight crash

Canadian killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

Man dies after being hit by car in East Vancouver

The driver involved is cooperating with police

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Most Read

l -->