The Columbia Basin Trust Water Smart initiative is seeing some big changes this season as the CBT will no longer be implementing the initiative. Last year the District of Invermere had partnered with the CBT and will be continuing the program throughout the summer of 2017.
“I was the Water Smart Ambassador in the area and I conducted 34 residential water assessments to help people conserve water at their homes, mostly concerning irrigation systems,” said Andrea Smillie environmental special projects coordinator for the District of Invermere. “Even though CBT isn’t continuing the program, the District still wants to provide free assessments for residents this year.”
During the free assessment, Smillie will visit your home, check the water meter, discuss any potential leaks you may have, and provide information on conserving water both inside and outside your house. Assessments take anywhere from an hour an hour to an hour depending on the home.
“If they water their lawn, I conduct an irrigation assessment: I take a soil analysis and look at their grass root depth. If the system is manual, I might do a catch can test to determine how much water their sprinkler puts out. If it’s an automatic system, I go through their timer with them to see how much time each zone is set for. I go through their yard to determine how much water their grass or other vegetation actually requires, in order to offer some advice on water savings,” said Smillie.
The program saw big reductions in water use from 2015 and 2016 with a total of 975,000 cubic meters treated and distributed water to consumers. In 2016, that number was reduced to 741,000 cubic meters.
“Our region is trying to address climate change, flooding, and other environmental issues that require long-term planning. Reducing Invermere’s overall water use and “peak demand” (July/August) reduces pressure on our water distribution and treatment systems. I think the home assessments are a great initiative because they’re interactive and get the homeowner involved… it makes water conservation more relevant,” said Smillie.
It is not clear if the program will run again next season, Smillie said: “we will have to see where this season takes us.” She will be offering the free home assessments from now until the end of September 2017. Homeowners and residents interested in participating in the Water Smart program can call Smillie at the district office 342-9291 ext 1230 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.