November 26, 2014

Drought: 2014

The Ministry of the Environment declared a third level drought for the Gulf Islands and Southern Vancouver Island in August. A level 3 drought calls for a 20% reduction in water usage by home owners, businesses and agriculture. Fish, particularly salmon, have had difficulty returning to their breeding grounds.

Robert Watson in his “What If: Future Water Supply and Demand Alternatives” study of the available water on Salt Spring Island looked at the possibility of severe drought for the North Salt Spring Water District and the rest of Salt Spring Island. He examined the possibilities of 1-in-25-year droughts, 1-in-50-year droughts and multi-year 1-in-25-year droughts. He concluded that 1-in-25-year droughts may become more and more frequent and we must prepare for longer hotter summers. We may have experienced a 1-in-25-year drought this year.

Preparing for Droughts

Now is the time to prepare for next year. Although the average Salt Spring resident uses less water than the average British Columbian, we still waste a lot of water. If you are part of a water supply system, you already know how much water you use by the size of your bill. For those off the grid, buying and installing a water meter to monitor your water use is relatively inexpensive. It is also possible to buy a water meter for your hose to find out how much water goes to your garden.

Reducing Waste

The biggest water wasters are the old 13- to 20-litre toilets, therefore, the best way to save water is to replace all your old toilets with low flush toilets that use 6 litres or less per flush. Showers and baths are the second highest household water consumer. Assuming a 20-litre per minute shower head and 5-minute showers for mom and dad, 10-minute showers for the teenager, and filling an average-sized bathtub 2/3 full for the younger child, a family of four can easily use 200,000 litres of water per year. Using a reduced flow shower head cuts water usage—if showers are not extended.

Family members showers/week baths/week annual water use



38,064 litres



36,400 litres
Young child



20,592 litres



104,000 litres



199,056 litres

Hamilton: A Guide to Wise Water Use 2007

Recycling Water

Using grey water (recycled bath and sink water) in our toilets cuts water usage by as much as 50%. In addition, septic systems improve with less water flowing through them. A rainwater catchment system is not inexpensive, but if properly designed and filled, it can water your garden without using potable water. The Water Council website has information about Rainwater Harvesting.


Outdoor Conservation

A further step in water conservation is to install a drip technology watering system in your garden. The SSI Water Council held a workshop on Garden Irrigation in the spring of 2014. The Water Council website has a description of the different methods described by our speakers including one whose cost is minimal if you cement pipes together. Another approach is to review your garden and the plants you love to determine how much water they consume. Over time you can move to less thirsty or to indigenous plants to save water.

December 5, 2014 Meeting

The SSI Water Council meeting will take place at 10 am on December 5, 2014 at Central Hall.

Click here for Agenda and other details.

Grant Received – November 2014

Great News!

In August we submitted an application for a Community Gaming Grant.
We have just been notified that SSI Water Council has been granted $3,600 towards our 2015 programs.
$1,800 for the Potable Water Workshops/Open Houses, to help pay for hall rental, communications and other costs essential for the delivery of the program.
$1,800 for the Potable Water Forums, to help pay for staff wages, insurance and other costs essential for the delivery of the program.

Water Sustainability Act 2014

Watch the PowerPoint on the Water Sustainability Act by Pat Lapcevic, Water Protection Section Head, West Coast Region, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Operations

Water Sustainability Act 2014 (PPT)