Are we really that Water Wise?

If there was a greenest lawn contest in Peachland right now, who would win?

I know I’m guilty of not being the most water – wise, weeks into our Stage 2 restrictions – my garden is in full harvest mode – and our front lawn is telltale green. 

So, one can argue I have no right to bring up what I’ve noticed over the past few weeks – while Mayor Cindy Fortin encourages a worthy cause – signing a pledge to conserve water as part of the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s Make Water Work pledge (Peachland won, by the way), the District of Peachland has this going on:

Around 8:45 a.m. Monday, Sept 13 at the playground on Morrison Court:

 

 

And around 5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept 10, in front of the District’s planning office. Husband was trying to balance our sushi order while taking this video:

 

So, a couple days after Mayor Cindy Fortin announced we’ve been crowned the Make Water Work Community Champion, I decided to call and ask about this:

“I’ll have to make sure to let them know,” said Cindy Fortin during a phone call this morning.

“If stuff like that happens, they (District staff) just haven’t noticed it.”

She pointed out the District has replaced the roses in front of the planning office with more drought-tolerant plants (plus those metal sculptures, which have also replaced more thirsty plant varieties at the south entrance to town).

“I don’t want this to be a negative, because it’s such a positive thing,” Fortin said, referring to my plans for this story.

“We want to encourage people to conserve water. If sprinklers aren’t set right or they’re watering too long, I do appreciate it when people let us know, we all do. So I’ll bring those up.”

And that’s kind of the point, isn’t it: the fact Peachlanders signed a pledge to save water means the intention is certainly there – and I’m sure it’s there on the District’s part, too. But we all need to do better, clearly.

Syd and his buddy, Ron are among a group of regular coffee drinkers who gather on a Beach Ave patio most mornings, before most of us are up and around.

“We see it all the time,” Syd said early Sunday morning, of hanging baskets on Beach Ave dripping water on sidewalks. There’s a leaky water line too, that isn’t doing a great job on a nearby tree, which is right beside where he’s sitting.

“I mean, you can say it’s insignificant, but in the grand scheme of things, it adds up.”

While I was taking videos of the sprinkler action at Morrison (got a little too close, lol), I chanced into meeting Fern, who lives right beside the park.

She says the water goes off every other day, and sometimes it runs “for hours.”

“I have little great-grandchildren and one comes and visits every day, usually around 11 or so, and they can never go on the playground because the equipment is too wet.”

Despite the well-watered park, there’s a small section of District property beside Fern’s house. It used to be cared for, she says, but they stopped watering and now it’s dried out and brown. If you see a little stick in the middle of the dry stuff, that’s her property line:

“I’ve complained, but they don’t do anything,” she says.

Yes, action and awareness, two keys to being water wise. But, I think Syd summed it up best:

“People don’t really give a shit, to be perfectly honest. They don’t care until something happens and that’s the bottom line.”

I’ll give the Mayor the last word:

“The main point of it, it’s about getting the message out there about water conservation, more than anything. So even if I run into somebody who doesn’t live in our community, I encourage them to take the pledge and while they’re reading up on the website, hopefully it will be an educational experience as well.”

That website, by the way is https://www.obwb.ca/. You can also track your water usage, through the District’s website – more info here.

“Whatever we do and how we set an example now is how future generations will just behave automatically,” Fortin says, of her hope that by doing the little things, like signing a pledge, being water wise will someday become second nature – “We hope.”

Written by Kristen Friesen

September 13, 2021

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