Taking steps toward a Drought Management Plan for the Island
At its June 27, 2016 meeting, Bowen Island Municipal Council agreed to endorse the Greater Vancouver Regional District Water Shortage Response Plan (WSRP) in order to promote awareness about the importance of water conservation, and to develop water restriction stages for 2017 and future years.
The plan defines guidelines for four levels of water conservation for users of municipal drinking water systems.
The purpose of the plan is to manage demand for drinking water during the summer months, and if necessary during times of emergencies. This is important because:
- rainfall is lower and demand is higher in the summer
- climate change is affecting rainfall frequency and intensity
- storage capacity is limited
- water shortages may result from unforeseen emergency situations such as earthquakes
Endorsement of the WSRP is the first step in Island Plan 2016’s Strategic Priority E1. 6 – Begin to Develop a Drought Management Plan. Bowen Island Municipality is promoting similar guidelines to the WSRP and hopes that water users on the Island will support this important priority by voluntarily following the guidelines.
Private well users will also benefit from these guidelines. Click HERE for more tips for well users.
Bowen Island is currently at Stage 1, which allows for watering of flower and vegetable gardens and power washing. Car and boat washing and lawn watering is restricted as described in the chart below. These are only the basics – further and creative water conservation actions are encouraged.
Water conservation stages will be posted and updated regularly on the Municipality’s Alerts and Advisories webpage.
Drought is a recurrent feature of climate involving a deficiency of precipitation over an extended period of time, resulting in a water shortage. For the latest information, see the Drought Information Portal.
Drought classifications are shown in the chart below.
Be prepared: read these water conservation tips.
Bowen Island water comes from rainfall collected in the aquifers and water sheds. We do not have a unlimited amount of water. Please read the following water conservation methods for all Municipal Water Systems. By helping conserve water, we can all minimize the impact on our environment and make our water systems more sustainable.
Save water inside your home
- Turn off the water when shaving, brushing teeth, and washing dishes. This can save 10 to 40 litres/day.
- Check for leaky toilets and replace older bathroom faucet nozzles.
- Install low flow toilets - they can save 6 to 14 litres per flush while low flow showerheads can save 8 litres/minute.
- Wash produce in a pan half-filled with water instead of using a strainer. Use this water for household plants.
- Run the dishwasher and washing machine only when you have a full load.
Save water outside your home
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean the driveway and sidewalk. A hose uses 23 litres/minute.
- Use a bucket of soapy water to wash your car and use the hose only for rinsing.
- Wash your car using soap and water from a bucket. The hose uses 23 litres/minute, but using a bucket saves you at least 2 minutes' worth of water (46 litres).
- Water the garden during early morning or evening hours when temperatures are cooler to avoid evaporation.
- Grow the grass at least 2 to 3 inches. Taller grass shades new growth and reduces evaporation.
- An hour of sprinkling uses about 1300 litres of water.
- Use a Rain Barrel to collect free water from your roof for your garden.
Other innovative ways to save water
- When you’re craving a cool glass of water, don’t run the faucet until the water gets cold. Try keeping a jug of water in the fridge. This way you can have a cold glass of water whenever you like!
- Remove weeds in your lawn and garden. This reduces competition for water while making the rest of the yard look great!
- Plant a water wise garden, which contains plants that need little water and can cope with long dry spells. Placing mulch in your garden is also a good way to conserve water. It reduces erosion and discourages weeds. Spread grass clippings or other mulch materials around the base of plants and shrubs.
- Reduce your shower by 5 minutes. This can save up to 100 litres of water.
You can take steps to protect your water supply and to deal with a dry well. Below are some suggestions for private well-users to avoid unpleasant surprises and have peace of mind:
- Check your water level, if you haven’t already
- Consider speaking to a qualified local water technician about installing a well depth monitor to notify you when your well reaches a lower-than-normal level
- Work with one of the local water companies or a group of neighbours to coordinate tanker truck deliveries or create communal pump and storage systems
- Consider purchasing a storage tank that will work in coordination with the natural recharge capacity of your well and will help to protect you from sudden water outages
- Remember that water quality and characteristics can be affected when the water table changes drastically, this may be a first indicator that water levels are low
- Talk to neighbours, especially if you are on a shared well or a shared aquifer, to agree on water conservation strategies and share updates on the level of the well
- Learn more tips about being “Wellsmart” at www.rdnwellsmart.ca or look in the Bowen Phone Book under “Water Systems”
Some suggestions for conserving water can be viewed here.
"Waterscape Bowen Island" project is an exploration of the story of water on Bowen Island. To view the Waterscape Bowen Island booklet click here. The Waterscape Bowen Island Poster can be viewed here.