It’s hard to get our minds around this time of year as we watch the rain pound down on an almost daily basis.
But Wednesday was UN World Water Day, and we are, in fact, heading already into our dry period.
The summer months once again promise to test our mettle on our determination to reduce our water use, while we struggle to keep our gardens from gasping their last under an unforgiving summer sun.
The Cowichan Watershed Board reminded the Valley this week about its Cowichan Water Conservation Challenge, now in the third of four years. It’s designed to get all of us Valley residents thinking about our water use and getting serious about reducing our huge consumption. The goal is a 20 per cent average reduction in daily home water use.
The award for top of the heap for 2016 goes to Cowichan Bay, which reduced water use by 31 per cent since 2013’s baseline. They also used the least amount on a per capita basis at 211 litres per person per day.
That per capita number is important. Canadians use on average 251 litres per person per day, and the Cowichan region’s consumption in 2016 was a staggering 262 litres per person per day. So in spite of improvements, there’s clearly still work to be done.
Germans use less than half our national average amount, with countries like Poland and Belgium coming in at even lower levels.
Even that’s nothing compared to those who really go without.
In other words, we suck up a lot of a precious resource, often without thought.
It’s something we cannot continue to waste.
Our summers in the Cowichan Valley have been defined by drought for almost a decade.
And yet some folks still go out in the middle of August and power wash the driveway or the sidewalk.
Many of us have by now adopted water saving behaviours like turning off the tap while we brush our teeth and not leaving the water running when we wash the dishes or the car.
If you haven’t, there’s no time like the present to start. And it’s never too late.
Head to www.cowichanwaterchallenge.ca for ideas of where you can start.