Williams Lake is fortunate to receive fresh

Williams Lake is fortunate to receive fresh

Water Wise bike brigade rides to raise awareness about water conservation

Williams Lake is lucky to have the Scout Island aquifer, from which we source all of our water.

Brianna vandeWijngaard

Special to the Tribune/Advisor

Williams Lake is lucky to have the Scout Island aquifer, from which we source all of our water.

As the Safe Drinking Water Foundation (Saskatoon, SK) states:

“The water [in aquifers] is usually much cleaner than the water of reservoirs at the earth’s surface: Almost no bacteria live in aquifers, [and] many pollutants are filtered out as water passes through the soil on its way to the aquifer.

“There is no silty mud to cloud the water, no pollution from boaters, and no evaporation [due to sun exposure].”

They also point out, however, that aquifers can and do become polluted due to human actions, and when an aquifer becomes polluted, like all water resources, it is very difficult to remedy, if not impossible.

But before anyone tells you how you should use our water resource, we should also point out that Williams Lake is not doing a half-bad job when it comes to water conservation.

We have finally stabilized the aquifer level to an almost-balanced discharge/recharge rate, and according to city water consumption data collected from 2007-2013. We can see a downward trend in water usage both overall, as well as during peak summer months.

Consumption is down 20 per cent in the last seven years, compared to preceding years, and summer flow (usage) accounts for only 37 per cent of total annual flow, compared to 45 per cent in preceding years.

We, as a municipality, have not had to invest in any major expansion projects to accommodate increased usage, and can preserve current infrastructure for as long as possible, if we maintain conservation efforts and keep our usage as low as possible. This means cost savings for everyone.

This is one of the main goals for the CCCS Water Wise program.

Since 2006, Water Wise has developed and facilitated classroom education modules and field trips around water systems and wise water use in Williams Lake and the surrounding area, for grades kindergarten to Grade 8.

The CCCS Water Wise program focuses on water conservation not just of natural ecosystems, but throughout our municipal water delivery system.

Both resources need to be conserved equally, as they are interdependent.

All of our municipal outflow ends up in the Fraser River, after travelling through the wastewater treatment plant.

We are proud of Williams Lakers, and the improvements we’ve made in water consumption habits in the last few years, and we want to keep that ball rolling.

This is where the CCCS Water Wise Bike Brigade project comes in!

During the months of July and August, the Bike Brigade team comprised of three local university students, are setting up information tables and biking through all of Williams Lake’s neighbourhoods to provide information to residents on how to improve their outdoor water usage when it is at its peak: during the summer.

Armed with bikes, Water Wise brochures, and a wealth of wise outdoor watering tools and techniques, the Bike Brigade team will visit every house within city limits to observe outdoor watering, and help residents maintain our success.

They can tell you, for example, how and when to water your lawn based on your address, local restrictions, and various watering techniques. If residents have any questions around wise outdoor water use, they are there to help find the answer! The Bike Brigade project’s main goal is to continue our positive trend towards becoming water wise super heroes! Saving our aquifer, and a little money along the way.

So if you see the Bike Brigade team out and about during the month of August, feel free to give a little wave!

And please watch out for them on the road.

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please contact the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society at 250-398-7929 or waterwise@ccconserv.org.

Brianna van de Wijngaard is the community liaison for the Cariboo-Chilcotin Conservation Society.