IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Government of B.C. has declared the Okanagan (including Penticton) as a Drought Level 4 area. Everyone (including agricultural users) is asked to reduce their water use by 30%. Stage 1 water restrictions are still in effect (see below for applicable dates/times). So if you regularly water your lawn for 1 hour, reduce that to 40 minutes instead to meet the 30% target. Enforcement of water restrictions is underway, which can result in fines if you do not comply. If water conservation targets are not met, then restrictions may become more strict. For information, call 250-490-2565.
Okanagan WaterWise offers a variety of great tips for people looking to conserve water and "Make Water WorK' for them.
- Put water on the nightshift. Water between dusk and dawn. Putting water to work during the coolest part of the day prevents evaporation. A good rule of thumb is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Check with your water utility for specific watering restrictions in your area.
- Put water only where it's needed. Don't let water waste time, effort and money! It should sprinkle your lawn or garden, not pavement.
- Don't mow - let it grow. Leave grass 2-3 inches tall (5-8 cm). Water stays longer when grass is longer. Leaving your grass longer slows evaporation from the soil... making it work more effectively. Leave grass clippings as mulch. Leaving grass clippings on your lawn helps feed the lawn and retain moisture, requiring less water and reducing evaporation. Aerate your lawn and top dress with compost. Aerating the lawn in early spring or fall improves water penetration. Water also works best with organic products like compost which minimize over-fertilizing and help prevent stormwater pollution.
- Rethink plants to those suitable to our dry climate. Okanagan water works best when paired with plants suitable to our dry climate: drought-tolerant turf, and native low-water variety plants. Visit the Okanagan Xeriscape Association's Plant Database [PDF - 63 KB] for an extensive listing of WaterWise plants for the Okanagan.
- One inch of water a week will do. Most lawns need just 2.5 cm (one inch) of water per week — about the depth of a tuna can. Watering deeply and less often promotes deep, healthy root growth. If you're watering deeply but not seeing results the problem may be inadequate topsoil. Try top dressing with half an inch of compost, then over-seeding for a thick and vigorous lawn.
- Check sprinkler heads. Notice brown spots? Water needs supervising. Sometimes sprinkler heads break, or plants grow around the sprinkler head, preventing effective water use. Check sprinkler heads and make necessary fixes to ensure they're working right.
- Install water-saving irrigation products. Save money on your water bill by using high efficiency irrigation, like drip or microjet, for shrubs and gardens.
- Collect and re-use rainwater. It's free! Rainbarrels collect fresh, naturally soft and chemical-free water that is great for container plants, flower beds, and food gardens.
Stage 1 Water restrictions - May 1 to August 31
By being water wise you are doing your part for the environment and saving money on your water bill. Remember, when watering your lawn, every drop counts.
Stage 1 water restrictions state that landscaping on even-numbered street addresses can be irrigated on even numbered days of the month and vice versa for odd numbered street addresses. Please note: Mobile homes, in mobile home parks, to water according to unit number.
How long you can water on your calendar day?
6 to 8 a.m. and 7 to 10 p.m.
10 pm - 4 am
(start on your calendar day as of 10 pm)
Why reduce our water consumption?
Demand has a direct impact on existing water and waste water infrastructure as well as community planning. For example, due to our semi arid climate, Peak Day has been the primary indicator for the success of the water conservation program. A secondary indicator, Average Day Demand, has been used as a gauge on behaviour changes in our growing community, as a measure of the overall impact education has on reducing water waste, and a driver of future initiatives.
As a result of working collaboratively with community partners, Peak Day has been reduced from 53 ML/day (2003) to 34ML/d (As of Aug. 1, 2012). Average Day Demand dropped to 18.26 ML/d in 2010 from 23.07 ML/d (2003) despite population growth. Most importantly, to reach our water conservation goals, residents and visitors alike continue to enjoy our green and growing xeriscape city!
For more information, please contact the Water Treatment Plant at 250-490-2565 or by email.