With the warm weather and lower-than-average valley water levels, the Okanagan Basin Water Board and its WaterWise program have initiated their conservation campaign early.
As part of the campaign, the Make Water Work plant collection has been unveiled at garden centres, including Blue Mountain Nursery in Armstrong, Swan Lake Nurseryland in Vernon and Kel-Lake Greenhouses in Lake Country.
“Here we have a local government with a campaign to encourage water conservation, reaching out to non-profit, industry, and retail, asking them to help develop and deliver a program that will help make the change we need in our valley – a shift in thinking about how we landscape our yards,” said Corinne Jackson, in charge of the WaterWise program.
The valley has less water available per person than anywhere in Canada but has some of the highest use in the country. And, 24 per cent of all water used in the Okanagan is used on household lawns and gardens with a lot of it wasted.
Since 2011, there has been an effort to raise awareness, provide tips to make water work more effectively, and a contest to encourage people to take the pledge online at www.MakeWaterWork.ca and be entered to win a WaterWise upgrade to their yard.
“This year’s low snowpack and early freshet means we will have to pull together in this valley,” said Doug Findlater, OBWB chairperson.
“Hopefully things will improve but we don’t know if this is a one-year anomaly or something we can expect in future years, similar to what is happening south of us in California. Either way, it makes sense to start adopting WaterWise habits now.”