It's easy to take water for granted, especially in an area surrounded by lakes. But our supply of water is not endless. Our lakes take 50 years to refill. Using water efficiently will minimize the costs of drinking water treatment, improve water availability for future years, and protect wildlife habitat.
Greater Vernon Water offers information and programs to help customers use water efficiently. This page includes helpful tips and links to tools to help you be waterwise, including:
- Efficient Irrigation and WaterWise Gardening Tips
- Indoor water efficiency and fixing leaks
- Water Use Restrictions
- Drought Management Plan
- Agricultural Water Conservation
Saving Water Outdoors
Did you know that residential water use doubles in the summer due to outdoor lawn and garden watering! With just a few simple changes, you can make a big difference in the amount of water you use outdoors.
- Most lawns only need to be watered once a week in July and August. Lawns can be watered once a MONTH or less in the cooler spring and fall months. Trees can be watered 3 times a month when it’s hot to keep them healthy.
- Water during the night to reduce water lost to evaporation.
- Put a pie plate or tuna can under the sprinkler and water the lawn until the plate or can is full. Time it to know how long to water next time. If you see water pools on the lawn before the tin is full, take a break and continue watering in an hour or later that week.
- If your lawn is still brown with this much water, perhaps the soil needs some help. Top dress with a ½ to 1” of compost which is raked in to the lawn in spring and fall. If installing new lawn, ensure at least 15 cm (6 inches) of quality top soil is put down first. A healthy plant needs nutrients and good soil structure in addition to water to stay green.
- Install efficient drip or micro-jet irrigation for shrubs or vegetable gardens to really get the water where it’s needed - at the plant roots!
- Add mulch to your flower, vegetable, and shrub beds and leave grass clippings on the lawn to prevent water loss.
Outdoor Water Saving Tips & Tools:
- Landscape & Irrigation WaterWise Handbook
- Water Efficient Plants Guide for Greater Vernon
WaterWise Gardening Workshops at the Xerindipity Garden
Workshops are hosted once a month through the summer on a variety of earth-friendly gardening topics.
- Okanagan Xeriscape Association
- Excellent plant database that can help you plan your garden based on plant size, colour, bloom months, size, and spread.
- Water-Saving Tips for Your Lawn and Garden from CMHC (Government of Canada)
- 10 Ways to Save Water on the Farm
- Rain Barrel DIY - Learn how to build your own rain barrel
Learn more ways to use water efficiently by visiting www.okwaterwise.ca and do a Performance Review on your water.
Greater Vernon Water has developed Water Use Restrictions to help residents use water more efficiently. Stage 1 Restrictions are in effect year-round, meaning that outdoor lawn and garden watering is only allowed between 7pm and 10am, unless hand watering with a watering can or hose with an automatic spring-loaded shut-off nozzle. Higher restriction stages may be implemented in times of drought or supply loss due to contamination of our water supply.
Saving Water Indoors
Not all leaks leave a puddle on the floor. The sneaky leaks manage to drain away without ever leaving a sign. Get familiar with your water meter - it can help you detect leaks indoors and outside . Check out the link below, “How to Read your Water Meter,” to learn how to find the Low Flow Indicator. If your water bill goes up suddenly or if your winter quarterly use is higher than 100 cubic meters for a family of four, be sure to check for these common culprits:
- Leaking toilets are the most widespread leak. This sometimes happens when the reservoir level is too high. The water leaks into the overflow tube, and into the toilet bowl. You may be able to fix this by adjusting the float arm screw, or bending the float arm down. Also when the flapper valves get old and brittle or the flapper valve is not filling the hole properly a toilet will leak. To diagnose this problem, pour two or three drops of food colouring into the tank. If you notice the dye in the bowl 15 minutes later, you have a leak. A new flapper valve may be required.
- Automatic water purifiers, reverse osmosis devices, or water softeners can also develop leaks that do not show up on the floor. Each of these devices should have their own shut off valve. If your snoop indicator is turning, turn off each of the suspected appliances one by one. If the snoop indicator stops when one of the isolation valves is off, you've found your leak.
Indoor Water Saving Tips & Tools:
- Learn how to Read a Water Meter
- How to Fix Household Leaks
- Okanagan WaterWise - Visit this site for tips on how to be waterwise at home, school, and work.
- Residential Water Consumption Audit
- Indoor Water Conservation Tips
- 51 Ways to Conserve Water
- What to Look for When Buying a Water-Efficient Toilet
- CWWA 6-litre Toilets Report