In an area so abundant with water, the thought of wasting water may not enter the minds of many. But it is a concern, and Creston’s water smart ambassador is here to help.
“We’re specifically looking at outdoor water use over the summer, and trying to decrease demand,” said Brittny Anderson. “I’m able to let people know if they’re using excess water. Even if they cut back just 25 percent per zone per day, it has a significant impact.”
Creston is one of 12 communities — not including Anderson’s hometown, Nelson — in the east and west Kootenays to have water smart ambassadors this summer, sponsored by the Town of Creston and the Regional District of Central Kootenay, as well as the Columbia Basin Trust.
“The water smart ambassadors will actively support residents by providing site specific recommendations to help them reduce their outdoor water use,” said CBT water and environment director Kindy Gosal in a press release.
Every water system has its limits, and the Arrow Creek facility that serves Erickson and Creston is no different. In many communities, water consumption peaks between 3 and 9 p.m.
“There can be water shortages in communities at that time,” said Anderson.
She has been encouraging residents to consider watering or using large amounts of water outside those times — and she’s been met by a good response.
“Farmers are trying to shift their scheduling to not include peak times,” she said.
Anderson, who will be studying environmental science policy management at the Central European University, covers Erickson and Creston, and will tailor her water-saving recommendations to suit each homeowner. Her analysis usually takes about a half-hour, during which she walks through the watering system, discusses the homeowner’s watering habits, finds leaks and takes soil samples.
Among the bad watering habits she’s come across are overwatering — with some residents watering for four to six hours when one would suffice — and watering in the middle of the day. Some even water at high noon, when 20 to 30 per cent of the water is lost to evaporation
Still others water both the lawn and the driveway, one of which doesn’t need water (the driveway), with the other stealing vast amounts of water to stay fresh and green (the lawn).
“In terms of water conservation, it’s probably one of the most difficult plants to maintain,” said Anderson.
Drought resistant grasses, she added, can help in the fight against wasting water, as can learning to balance watering — a reduction in watering time and soil improvements will help the lawn to grow longer, stronger roots.
For folks with timed sprinkler systems, she suggests keeping an eye on settings — power outages can reset systems, allowing unintentional watering.
The local water supply hasn’t yet warranted extreme regulation of watering this summer. Creston and Erickson are currently on stage 1 watering restrictions, which suggest watering anytime other than between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
“They’ve done that so residents can use their discretion, rather than watering on specific days of the week,” said Anderson. “If things look dry, they will be able to water that day.”
Anderson is looking forward to spending the rest of the summer educating residents about water use.
“It’s an awesome summer job,” she said. “It’s something I’m passionate about.”
For more information, contact Brittny Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-402-9640.