One look at Okanagan Lake and it’s easy to see what some people might think: The valley has all the water it could ever need.
According to the Okanagan Basin Water Board, nothing could be further from the truth.
“The Okanagan is Canada’s most water-stressed region,” OBWB communications director Corinne Jackson told Global News.
That may come as a surprise — that the Okanagan is water-stressed despite being blessed with some incredibly big lakes.
“We have less water available per person in the Okanagan. At the same time, we use two times more than the average Canadian,” said Jackson.
Now with the driest spring on record this year, and temperatures set to scorch the valley this week in the low 40s, Okanagan residents are being reminded of the importance of conserving water.
The OBWB is asking people to visit MakeWaterWork.ca and take the pledge to make water work more effectively.
Global Okanagan viewers may already be familiar with the Make Water Work campaign, as it’s an ongoing public service announcement.
At the heart of the water-wise campaign is a simple pledge:
- Water lawn between dusk and dawn.
- Water plants, not pavement.
- Never mow low. Let it grow.
- Choose plants suitable to our dry climate.
- Tune-up my irrigation.
- Aerate my lawn and top dress with compost.
To help get the word out this week, several Okanagan mayors kicked off the 11th year of the campaign by taking the pledge themselves and challenging valley residents to do the same.
“Many people say to me: ‘We have a huge lake out there; why should be conserver water?’ But we need to protect the water that we have in this drought situation,” said Osoyoos mayor Sue McKortoff.
As chair of the OBWB, McKortoff worries about the supply of water for crops, fish and firefighting this summer.
“We don’t need to have perfectly sculpted lawns. We need to be aware of what are the most important uses for our water right now,” McKortoff said.
To find out more on how you can make water work, visit this webpage and take the pledge and save water.