Once something to be proud of and a hobby of sorts for many, the days of the green lawn appear to be something set in the past as the Central Okanagan struggles under a stage four drought in the summer of 2015.
And in Lake Country watering of lawns is now being limited to two days per week as per the district stage 2 water restrictions while residents are being asked to voluntarily reduce water consumption by 30 per cent.
So what does this mean for your green lawn?
Lake Country entrepreneur Mike Wagner may have the answer. Wagner is offering a lawn-painting service as part of the work his home and yard maintenance company offers. Using a plant-based die, Wagner can green up your lawn the new-fashioned way, giving brown, dormant grass a nice fresh green colour.
“So many people spend a lot of money on landscaping their yards but now with the drought their lawns are dying and certain areas don’t look very good,” said Wagner, who began Lake Country Home and Yard this year after he and his wife moved to the Okanagan last year. “When you look at California this is a massive industry, not only for people’s yards but also for golf courses. There are no chemicals and its completely harmless to pets and plants. It just looks like bright beautiful grass.”
Like most people who own a home, a nice, lush, green grass is something that Wagner enjoys as a homeowner. But with the emphasis on water and water conservation in the coming years, providing people with an alternative is something that he thinks should be a growing industry.
He says it can help people enjoy their yard and also be significant when it comes time to sell a house.
“It’s a very different concept,” Wagner admitted. “I know when we bought our house, if the yard was disgusting and dead, we probably would have looked elsewhere. It’s cosmetic. It can last up to three or four months and I think it’s something people will enjoy and not have to worry about the water restrictions.”
The District of Lake Country announced the move to stage two water restrictions at the end of July, only the third time ever the district has had to put in watering restrictions after doing so in 2003 and 2009.
Mike Mitchell, Lake Country’s utility superintendent, says it’s critical that everyone in the community does their part to conserve water.
“It is drastically important that all in the community reduce their water consumption, as every drop we save this year will prevent us from starting with a lower reservoir level next spring,” said Mitchell. “Normally we start with our reservoirs at 80 per cent full and anticipate snow melt will fill it to 100 per cent. Next spring we are predicting we will start with 60 per cent as a result of this year’s drought, so we are going to hope for a good snow melt year to make up what we need for next summer’s demand.”
Mitchell added he expects the current water restrictions to be sufficient this year, although the district could decide to limit watering to just once a week in stage three of its water conservation plan.
“We don’t anticipate moving to stage three this year,” he said. “Our current reservoir levels aren’t alarmingly low, but the district is being proactive in implementing restrictions to protect the resources so we have enough water for all users.”
As far as Wagner and his start-up company, he says utilizing lawn die to get that green back in the lawn is a way of the future.
“If we keep having these water restrictions, people will still want the yard to look nice. They spend a lot of money on their homes so this is a good alternative to pouring a bunch of water on it.”