It's Hip to Fix a Drip!

In the Cowichan Valley, reduced river flows and water shortages are threatening salmon survival, local farming, water quality, recreation, and industry. The "new normal" is that we get nearly all our water falling in winter, and very dry summers. 

Every drop helps. The easiest drops to save are the ones that are "wasted" every hour of every day through leaks in hoses, toilets, and pipes. So start there! Check your toilet (even new ones!) for silent leaks caused by old or mis-aligned flappers in the bottom of the tank. (Click here for instructions.)  Outside, take 20 minutes to walk around with a wrench and some hose washers. Check all hose and faucet connections for leaks and tighten up!

The Cowichan Water Challenge. For the past five years (2014-2018), the Cowichan Watershed Board led a region-wide effort to encourage residential water conservation and measure improvements. The goal was to reduce household water use by at least 20% by 2018. Cowichan Region's largest water suppliers participated in various ways, including efforts to make watering restrictions less confusing for residents, public education, workshops, installing water meters and employing conservation-based pricing,  (more here).  At the same time, the Board employed costumed 'super-heroes' and other public engagement leaders to promote a positive culture of conservation and prompt people to make simple but impactful changes in their homes. Furthermore, by choosing activities that focused attention on small fixable leaks in the home, the Challenge sought to inspire people to value water more, and to take that care with them to work, school and larger institutions. Read the summary report from the effort, "It's hip to fix a drip!" here.

Good trend, but we can do better.   During the course of the Challenge, residential water use declined by an average of eight percent per year, which is a significant achievement in a short time. (Ladysmith's impressive 20% savings that inspired the Challenge took ten years to achieve). However, we did not meet the 20 percent goal and Cowichan residents still have higher per capita water use on average today than the 2011 Canadian average (last comparable statistics), which is among the highest water use (and waste) rates in the world.  The good news is that there were instances throughout the Challenge of specific areas achieving over 20% reduction in certain years (e.g. Chemainus, Satellite neighbourhood, Cowichan Bay), proving it can be done without too much hardship. Also, public reception to our outreach teams was very positive, indicating residents of the region are quite willing to take the simple actions that could add up to the goal we set.  So, while we lacked the capacity to reach enough people during this period, we remain confident that this was, and is, an achievable goal with a little more effort.  Please keep your water-saving efforts up, and lets get our water consumption down!   


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commented 2016-06-03 20:05:17 -0700
I like both of Jill Thompson’s ideas m going to try em
commented 2015-10-05 19:36:00 -0700
Water Saving Tips from the Doorstep!
“We bought a small switch-like thing at Griffith’s in Duncan that you install on the shower. You can turn the water on and off while showering without losing the temperature setting. It’s saved us lots on heating the hot water as well. One more thing: Chris installed a shower head outside on the grape arbour, and we took outdoor showers using the hot water that sat in the very long garden hoses all day. This meant that we didn’t have to waste all that hot water when we tried to water the plants.”
published this page 2015-07-07 11:32:41 -0700
Its Hip to Fix a Drip!
Pledge to Save Water