The hills surrounding the city of Williams Lake are usually filled with adventure seekers on two wheels as they wind their way through the trees, throwing themselves off mind-boggling jumps and drops.
It is much less common to see groups of riders through town, especially dressed in high-vis clothing. If you spotted one such group over the past few weeks, you may have wondered what we were up to. This group made up our Water Wise Bike Brigade (fondly dubbed “the water patrol” by friends and family) and included members of the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society (CCCS) team, and the awesome crew of Potato House summer students.
Each week the group chose a neighborhood within the city of Williams Lake and pedalled around in search of activity outside of the city of Williams Lake’s water conservation regulations. Each summer, usage doubles as residents spray and sprinkle lawns and gardens to maintain lush green spaces.
The goal of the Bike Brigade is to provide residents with education on how to most efficiently use water in the hot months to help relieve pressure on the city’s aquifer. Common findings of the Bike Brigade included sprinkling during restricted hours (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.), leaky sprinkler heads, sprinklers positioned that allowed water to be wasted on roads and sidewalks, and less efficient means of watering such as overhead sprinklers or sprinklers not set on timers. We were able to speak with many folks about best practices and left behind some door hangers with tips on how to conserve water.
The Bike Brigade did get to leave behind some positive notes as well. They came across several excellent examples of xeriscaping using drought hardy plants, rocks, and mulch, as well as an impressive number of golden lawns. Allowing your lawn to go dormant over the hot summer months is a great way to decrease water usage and saves you from having to mow as often as well.
CCCS plans to continue the Bike Brigade in 2022 with some slight modifications. “We found that it was hard to appreciate sprinkling and watering habits on our routes because we were mainly out during the day, when the majority of residents are following guidelines,” said CCCS communications co-ordinator, Brianna van de Wijngaard. “Next year we plan to add some evening rides to better capture this missing data and further increase education in the community.”
Water Wise tip: Take a boo at the City of Williams Lake’s Good Neighbor Bylaw, posted on their website. It has up-to-date sprinkling regulations for the summer months.
For more information on Water Wise or Waste Wise and any of our school and community programs, contact the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.ccconserv.org.
Amber Gregg is the sustainable life education co-ordinator with the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society.