Why do we need to conserve water on the 'wet coast' of British Columbia?

We think of coastal BC as having an abundant, if not overabundant supply of water. However, increasing population and changing climate means that demand is also increasing and changing. The quantity and quality of our water resources are directly impacted by human activity, including the amount we use on a daily basis. Moreover, conserving water postpones the development of costly new infrastructure, such as reservoirs, pump stations, and pipelines.

What are the best ways to conserve water around the home?

Toilets account for 26.7% of total indoor water use. Combined with showers and baths, the bathroom accounts for 61% of all indoor water use. If your home doesn't already have one, consider installing a low-flush toilet or retrofitting your toilet. You can also install aerators on your faucets and shower heads to reduce the flow of water.

What are the best ways to conserve water around the garden?

Up to 40% of summertime water use is for lawns and landscaping. Here are some quick water saving tips:

- Water only when your lawn or garden needs it and only when permitted. Your lawn only needs 1" of water per week to be healthy.
- Know your irrigation system and ensure it's set to water only during the appropriate times.
- Native shrubs and plants have already adapted to our climate and soils. Once established, these plants do well on the moisture that they get from annual rainfall and require less maintenance.
- Mulch reduces evaporation, retains moisture, and reduces weed growth.

How do I read my water meter?

Water meters are located in the ground usually in a black plastic or concrete box with a steel lid, just beyond the front property line and close to the front corners of the property. To access the water meter, pry the lid off with your fingers or a screwdriver, and place it carefully nearby. The water meter will be located within plain view once the lid is removed.

The dials on the water meter show cumulative water usage similar to the odometer in a car. The digits represent tens, hundreds, and thousands of cubic metres (1 cubic metre = 220 imperial gallons). To determine your water usage, write down all the digits shown on the meter face. Then compare this reading to the last meter reading shown on your water bill. When you subtract the old reading from the new reading, the result is the volume of water used since the last meter reading (in cubic meters). If you note the number of calendar days since the last meter reading, you can calculate the average volume of water used per day by dividing the volume of water used, by the number of days since the last meter reading.
A typical household uses 0.7 to 1.0 cubic meters per day, or roughly 30 cubic meters per month.

How can I check for a leak?

Discontinue all water uses on your property for a few minutes while you go outside to check your water meter. If a leak is present, the panel of numbers on the water meter face will be advancing like the odometer in a car. A small leak may only cause the black triangle or red dial to spin. If the meter indicates water usage, close the main shut-off valve inside the house. Look at your water meter again and if the triangle or red dial have stopped spinning, there there is likely a leak inside the house (i.e. a dripping tap or running toilet). If the triangle or red dial are still spinning, there is a leak somewhere in the yard.