June 29, 2015

Water Conservation Forum

Are you worried about water on SSI?


Find out why and what you can do about it.


Come to the Water Conservation Forum where you can listen to experts and ask questions.

The Forum will feature a panel of hydrologists and biologists from POLIS, the Ministry of Health, Simon Fraser University as well as a local specialists and resource people.

When: Sunday, July 19, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Meaden Hall at the SSI Legion

Water Conservations Tips CONTEST

Do you have a great water conservation idea?

Enter our CONTEST to win a water conservation gadget!

Water Conservation Tips CONTEST

Share your best water conservation tip and you could win a water conservation prize.

Contest details:

Entries will be judged on practicality, usefulness and cost effectiveness.

In the event that the same winning idea(s) are submitted by more than one person, the first person to submit that idea will be deemed the winner.

Winners will be announced at the Water Conservation Forum on July 19, between 2- 5 pm at Meaden Hall, in the SSI Legion. Winners must be in attendance to claim their prizes.

Deadline for submissions: July 17, 2015 at noon.

Water Conservation Tips CONTEST
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2015 AGM

We are pleased to invite you to attend our Annual General Meeting, which will be followed by our regular business meeting featuring a POLIS Presentation by Savannah Carr-Wilson.

When: at 10:30 am on May 29, 2015
Where: at the Fritz Theatre
Agenda: AGM Agenda  |  Regular Meeting Agenda (click orange links to view PDF documents)
Minutes:  2014 AGM  |  December Meeting
Presentation: The Future of B.C.’s Water: Ensuring the Province Gets its Water Laws Right.

We hope to see you there. This meeting is open to the public, so please feel free to circulate this information.

Savannah Carr-Wilson Bio: Savannah joined the POLIS Water Sustainability Project in February 2015, bringing an interest in water conservation, law, and governance. In April 2015, she completed her law degree at the University of Victoria, where she specialized in environmental law and sustainability. Savannah’s work with the Water Sustainability Project focuses on conducting water policy and law reform research, with a specific focus on supporting the development of regulations under the B.C. Water Sustainability Act. Prior to law school, Savannah completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at Jacobs University Bremen in northern Germany, where she majored in International Politics and History. She has also worked internationally with the non-profit Welthungerhilfe and the Hamburg Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, and within Canada at Ecojustice.

WATER FAIR: March 21-22, 2015

Visit the Documents page to see the Final Report.

Our island has limited water resources, particularly in the summer, so we islanders need to do our bit to conserve/protect it—and that is not as hard as it may seem. There are lots of ways to conserve water—come out to the fair to find out what you can do.

Every Drop Counts Rainwater Harvesting Tour

Saturday, March 21, Noon – 4 pm

Tour rainwater collection systems from the north end to the south end of the island, small to large, simple to high tech.

Download the map and visit these homes on Saturday March 21 to see how islanders are creating some or all of their own water supply. You may visit any or all of these homes between noon and 4 pm, in any order. Homeowners have agreed to offer guided tours of their systems on the hour and half hour starting at noon. If you arrive between tour times feel free to join a tour in progress or wait for the next tour.

Click here to download the MAP  (PDF) or pick a copy up at: the Tourist Information Centre, Natureworks or Windsor Plywood.

Water Draw posterWater Fair at the Farmers Institute

Sunday, March 22, 10 am – 3 pm

Drop by the Farmers Institute to visit the Community and Retail Booths, take in some Workshops, have a bite to eat and enjoy the Entertainment. There something for everyone in the family.


Community and Retail Booths:

artworkGet answers to your questions. There will be information, demonstrations, retail products, DIY ideas, educational info and professional consultants.

  • SSI Water Council
  • SSI Watershed Protection Authority
  • SSI Water Preservation Society
  • Cusheon Lake Stewardship
  • SSI Water Education & Learners
  • SSI Conservancy
  • Georgia Strait Alliance
  • SSI Transition
  • Windsor Plywood
  • Slegg Lumber
  • Capital Regional District
  • Saltspring Water Co.
  • Ganges Harbour Restoration
  • North Salt Spring Water District
  • Seven Ravens Permaculture Institute
  • Gulf Islands Rainwater Harvesting & Irrigation
  • Coast Alive Recreational and Ecological Services

Workshop schedule:

10:30 am:    Sweet water: Promoting ecosystem vitality and resilience in a changing world. Introduction to the marvelous world of the water molecule and the role of water in world climate; brief explanation of expected shifts in water availability in the Southern Gulf Islands as a result of climate change; plus, controlling invasive plants, promoting native plants, and planting to reduce wildfire risk. Presented by: Chris Drake.

11:00 am:    Designing Irrigation Systems for SSI Homes & Gardens. Design for efficiency; water budget and scheduling; water saving Solutions/Retro-fitting inefficient systems. Presented by: Matt Nowell.

11:30 am:    How to Grow More Food Using Less Water. Mulching; just the right amount of water in the veggie garden and orchard; optimizing irrigation; food plants on a low water budget. Presented by: Linda Gilkeson.

1:00 pm:    Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC: What We Do. The Partnership aims to achieve water sustainability in BC through recognition of individual water values, water choices, and water behaviours, and by inspiring and supporting groups to work towards a future without water shortages. Presented by: Tim Pringle.

1:30 pm:    The Art of Swale Construction & Practice of Permaculture. Video overview of project spreading the practice of permaculture in East Africa; outdoor demonstration of swale construction- a permaculture technique for increasing garden and farm productivity. Presented by: Michael Nickels.


KidZone Lineup:

10 am – 3 pm:    Throughout the day

  • Water Poetry Wall and KidColour Table with water-themed activity book pages, designed by local Children’s Book Illustrator, Aidan Cassie for the “Salt Spring Island Activity Book” (Little Red Schoolhouse publication), reprinted with permission. www.aidancassie.com
  • There will be Water Play and Discovery elements for families as well. Still to be determined.
  • Water Face Painting station.

10:30 am:   Elizabeth Buchanan (aka Joan Buchanan)

11:15 am and 1:30 pm: Ta Daa Lady at the Water Fair KidZone presents…. Interactive Storytelling inside a Salmon with the Nylon Zoo -Water Dancing in costume Dress Up KidZParade!!

12:30 pm:   Dance and Singalong with Ta Daa & Stumpy the Puppet!

Ta Daa Lady (aka Angela Brown):Wiab insal

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA is a B.C. based artist who regularly graces stages and schools, fairs and festivals throughout the Lower Mainland. She is also an International stage performer, owner and operator of the Nylon Zoo, a storyteller, dancer and puppeteer with West Coast Chamber Music, a member of Historical Performance Ensemble (historical dance, music, costume and Commedia dell’Arte) and teaches through Learning Trough the Arts and Arts Starts in the Classroom. www.angelabrown.ca


Main Stage Lineup:

12 noon:   EcoDiva (Nomi Lyonns): Welcome to the Event and EcoDiva Water Performance!

12:30 pm:   Ta Daa Lady: Singalong with Stumpy the Puppet!

2:00 pm:   Kim Tebbutt: Water Blessing inspired by Dr. Masaru Emoto. Kim is called to leadership for healing and connecting through ceremony. Kim organizes monthly Water Ceremonies all over Salt Spring Island in beautiful watery locations on the 11th of each month at noon.

2:15 pm:   Naomi Jason and Friends: Water Dance


EcoDiva (Nomi Lyonns):

NomiGrowing up on Saltspring, Nomi connects strongly to all things eco. She volunteers for Cusheon Lake Stewardship, Transition Salt Spring and Climate Action Council. As a performer, she uses her skills to playfully highlight big scarey issues of our times, as a yoga instructor she offers tools to help deal with them. www.nomilyonns.com





Water Blessing by Kim Tebbutt:
Storytelling with Elizabeth Buchanan:

Elizabeth is the author of four children’s books and has been storytelling for 27 years. She is passionate about the environment, and has been an activist since age 13. Water is central to her life: she practices permaculture and has a water recycling system for her home and gardens. In Education, Elizabeth has offered teaching and professional development from preschool level to post-graduate level, and teacher in-service learning. Her vitae includes poetry and short stories for news periodicals.

Naomi & friends:

Naomi Jason is passionately dedicated to cultivating healthy embodiment and regenerative living practices for all ages through dance, qigong, yoga, permaculture and community building.  She is a performance artist, founder of Dance Temple, visionary for Imaginelle and inspires acceptance, grace and inclusivity in all she does. www.naomijason.com

Naomi performs “The Last River:  a song for the children,” by local composer and pianist Suzanne Gay (see her on Facebook). This music was inspired by a dream about the Last River On Earth, and musically describes the water cycle, with the main body of the piece describing the river.  Also joining Naomi and Suzanne in this incredible performance are Lesley Smith, and Ananda Sinclair. Lesley Smith is a dancer, choreographer and yogi who brings authenticity and reverence to her craft. She considers creation and performance an instrument of universal prayer. Ananda is a extraordinary vocalist, and instrumentalist who taps into the energy of a live audience and provides incredible presence with his fluid melodies.

The piece is co-choreographed by Naomi and Lesley. Music composed by Suzy and accompanied by Ananda Sinclair.

Food Vendors:

Lunch, coffee, water, and local bites by Hips and Haws, Ethos and Salt Spring Water Co.

Find Ethos on Facebook.








This event is a collaboration between:

waterfairlogos and we acknowledge the financial assistance of the Province of British Columbia:




and the generous support of our local


A big thank you goes out to all the volunteers who made this happen!

If you would like to volunteer an hour or two to help out with the event, please contact Maxine at ssiwps@gmail.com

SSIWPA Technical Advisory Committee Seeks New Volunteer Member

For more info visit: SSIWPA

SFU Research Presentation in January

SSI Water Council Society, in partnership with Islands Trust, supported the thesis work of Simon Fraser University graduate student Isabelle Larocque focussing on “The Hydrogeology of Salt Spring Island” under the supervision of Dr. Diana Allen.

We are pleased to invite you to attend a public meeting of the Water Council Society for an account of finished and future work presented by Professor Allen and her research team.

When: at 2 pm on January 27, 2015
at the Fritz Theatre.

We hope to see you there. This meeting is open to the public, so please feel free to circulate this information.

Link to: Thesis summary by Dr. Diana Allen (PDF)

Thesis précis:

Isabelle Larocque’s 255 page thesis, with 34 tables and 85 figures, focusses on assessing the sensitivity of our island coastal aquifer to stressors that include sea level rise, changes in precipitation, and development related to pumping from wells. This work is a continuation of research by Dr. Allen into the groundwater hydrology of the Gulf Islands. The research gives us new quantitative data on which to base planning for future demands on our water resource. Findings from the thesis work include:

  • The aquifer on Salt Spring Island consists of a network of fractures in sedimentary rocks of the Nanaimo Group in the north part of the island and fractures in older granitic, volcanic, and sedimentary rocks in the south part of the island.
  • Recharge of the groundwater is entirely through precipitation and the chemistry of the water is the result of chemical interaction between the rocks and the water. Ion exchange reactions involving sodium and calcium dominate in the Nanaimo rocks, but not in the older rocks of the south end.
  • Discharge of the precipitation is achieved by surface runoff, evaporation, subsurface flow of groundwater to the sea, and by pumping. The overall distribution of groundwater flow is outlined from an analysis of water table data from wells and shows island-scale groundwater and flow directions. These are controlled mainly by topography. Future studies of the useable quantity of water on the island will be aided by this island-scale analysis.
  • Pump tests on Salt Spring Island are analysed, including results from other Gulf Islands and combined with analysis of well responses to tidal fluctuations to determine representative hydraulic properties of the aquifer. Average hydraulic properties are summarised and it is interesting that the properties on Salt Spring Island are similar to those on the other islands and that they are not widely different for the different rock types. This suggests that properties derived for Salt Spring Island may be of wide application and that future hydrologic modelling will be a promising avenue to pursue. The tables of data constitute a valuable resource for future work.
  • The effect of tidal variation on groundwater flow was studied using the Swan Point area near Booth Canal and a combination of numerical modelling and calibration from existing well data. An interesting and unexpected result has been that the salt-fresh interface is steep in this area of high topographic relief but that strong pumping may result in salt intrusion. Areas of low topographic relief may still have a shallow saltwater lens at depth.

In summary, the research provides solid new data on the hydrologic properties of Salt Spring Island aquifers, it provides an island-wide model of the general behaviour of the island’s groundwater, and assesses the potential future effects of sea level rise. The fresh-salt interface is shown to be steep in areas of high topographic relief and is expected to be shallow in areas of low relief.

The Water Council Society is grateful to the LTC for their support of this research and particularly grateful to Professor Allen for her continuing work in the Gulf Islands and on Salt Spring Island particularly, as well as the Province of British Columbia.






SSIWPA Invitation to participate

Dear Water Council Members,

This is an invitation to attend the upcoming SSI Watershed Protection Authority St. Mary Lake Planning Workshop on March 2, 2015. Please contact Shannon Cowan at 250-537-4847 or ssiwpacoord@gmail.com before end of the day on February 25 if you would like to attend as an observer.

The planning process that SSIWPA is undertaking for St Mary Lake Watershed is an example of a multi-layered, multi-stakeholder process. Part of this process includes meetings of SSIWPA committees (Steering, Technical and Public Advisory). It also includes three full-day workshops. In the workshops, the SSIWPA Steering Committee (ie. the decision-makers) will work together  on steps of the process as guided by the consultants from Compass Resource Management, with input from other SSIWPA committees. Members of the public are welcome to observe the workshops.

Regular reporting at each stage, and integration of materials from each workshop prior to moving forward, will give efficient structure to determine information gaps and common ground among decision-makers, in a step-wise, iterative and transparent manner. The final deliverable after the May workshop is the Draft Management Plan for St. Mary Lake Watershed.

The proposed three workshops will fall on the following dates: March 2, 2015; April 20, 2015 and May 25, 2015.

Please contact Shannon Cowan before end of the day February 25 to attend the March 2, 2015 workshop as an observer. 250-537.4847. ssiwpacoord@gmail.com.

Thank you,

Shannon Cowan, Ph.D.
Salt Spring Island Watershed Protection Authority

Seeking Rainwater Collection Examples on Salt Spring

A Community Water Learning Event!

Proposed Rainwater Collection Tour on March 21, 2015 on SSI:

Do you have a rainwater collection system and live on Salt Spring island?

Do you use your rainwater for your garden, or do you store and treat rainwater for use as a potable source? Or do you have an innovative grey water system to reuse some of the water that goes down the drains with your perennials or lawn? Do it yourself, low or high tech – as long as it is reliably functioning.

If you are interested in showcasing your system and teaching others about it, please contact Sharon Bywater to get involved in a World Water Day event in March 2015.

Sharon (250) 537-5000.

Island Health report on improving drinking water. Dec. 2, 2014

On December 2, 2014 Island Health Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Richard Stanwick released a report that measures progress towards ensuring all residents and visitors to the region receive drinking water from supply systems that meet North American expectations for water quality.

The success of our drinking water program relies on public health staff and drinking water providers who apply their expertise to addressing local drinking water issues,” Stanwick noted in the report.  

“The consequences of failing to ensure high quality water are always on the minds of those whose role it is to protect this precious resource,” he added.

The report makes 32 recommendations to ensure quality of drinking water — addressing health protection at all stages from the source of the water to the tap. The report also acknowledges the wide range in the size of water systems from wells that are shared by a few families to large operations that serve the Island’s cities and surrounding communities.  

Read the report: Water,Water Everywhere (PDF)