Does the sidewalk really need a power wash?

As the hoses come out with the sunny spring weather, it’s time to stop a minute and think before turning on the tap.

The Cowichan Valley is heading into a big time of year for water consumption.

It’s also a big time of year for drought.

The last couple of years have been great for making summer camping plans as we passed week after week of rainless skies well into September and October, but they haven’t been so great for all the things that need that water to survive and thrive.

Spawning salmon have had to be trucked past spots on the Cowichan River where the mighty watercourse slowed to nothing more than a trickle.

This year we hope for better things, as water is being stored in Cowichan Lake longer through use of the weir.

The idea is that this “extra” water can be released at a time when it is most needed.

(To clarify for worried lakeside property owners, there isn’t actually more water being stored, it is just going to be there longer than in past years.) But it’s not just about the river.

It’s also about the aquifers and lakes and ponds that many of us draw our water from.

Those who are on municipal water systems may never have thought about where the water comes from other than their tap when they turn the handle.

But that water that gushes out on command comes from somewhere, and it is not an unlimited source.

Those who are on wells, particularly older ones, may have a more intimate relationship with where their water comes from and the idea that there’s a finite amount of it to be had sometimes. It’s not to be taken for granted.

In the summer, we all need to live a little more frugally when it comes to using water.

We’re not saying you have to stop flushing your toilet.

But perhaps it’s a good time to consider installing a low-flow one. And then there are the everyday things.

Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth.

Turn off the tap in between rinses as you wash your dishes.

Perhaps power-washing the sidewalk isn’t the only way to get the job done – maybe a simple broom and dustpan will do the clean-up you want.

When you wash the car in the driveway don’t leave the hose running the entire time. That’s literally water down the drain.

Your garden doesn’t need to be artificially rained on with the sprinkler every day – you’ll probably drown it if you do that. A good water once per week is all deeper-rooted things need. A couple times a week will suffice for newly-planted veggies and such.

So pause for a moment and make a conscious choice about how much water you need.