It might seem like we have an abundance of water here on the ‘wet’ coast, so it’s easy to take our water supply for granted. Despite our rainy winters, fresh water is a limited and precious resource in the summer. With a growing population in the Comox Valley and a warming climate, water conservation is more important than ever.

Comox Valley water system users consume over 8 billion litres a year - about a third of which is simply flushed down the toilet or washed down a drain. In the summer, daily water use can reach as high as 1,300 litres per person a day. Our water consumption almost triples during the summer months as a result of outdoor water use, like lawn and garden watering.

Thankfully there are many ways we can curb our home water consumption, from shorter showers to drought-resistant landscaping.

Try some of the following tips to reduce your household’s water consumption:

Go Low-Flow

Retrofitting your home for water efficiency is easy. Advancements in technology for appliances and plumbing now result in huge reductions in water use with comparable (or improved) performance. Install low-flow showerheads and faucets and replace older, water-guzzling toilets and appliances with more water efficient versions.

Rethink Outdoor Water Usage

Water consumption triples during summer months as a result of outdoor water use. Luckily, there are many easy ways of using water efficiently without sacrificing the beauty and enjoyment of your yard.

Experiment with “Naturescaping”

Your lawn requires less than 2.5 cm (one inch) of water per week to stay healthy. To support your efforts, substitute traditional landscaping with “naturescaping” – a landscaping technique that strategically places emphasis on plants that grow naturally and require less water. Also, consider collecting and using rainwater as much as possible. Instead of using a hose or pressure washer to clean driveways, siding, fences and other areas around the yard, try using a broom, bucket and brush or another water-efficient method.

Implement an Efficient Irrigation System

A carefully designed irrigation system with efficient components can help apply only just as much water as your landscape needs, reducing waste from overwatering.  The CVRD offers rebates for Smart Control irrigation timers that provide irrigation only when required according to the weather and environmental conditions.  Smart Control has been shown to reduce outdoor water use by as much as 20-40 per cent annually while maintaining landscape health.

Check for Leaks

Unnecessary water usage can occur both inside and outside of your home. Even slight leaks can add up to large volumes of preventable water loss. Ensure that toilets, faucets, irrigation systems and outdoor hoses aren't leaking and, when performing simple tasks such as brushing teeth and doing dishes, make sure to turn the tap off.

When we use our water efficiently it impacts more than just the amount of water left to support natural ecosystems. It can also help reduce the costs to operate the water system, and avoid future upgrades to water supply infrastructure or changes to how and where we source our drinking water.

The CVRD implements annual water restrictions. These restrictions are necessary to help ensure there is enough water available for fish flows, domestic needs and fire protection.

Residents connected to the Comox Valley Water System rely on water drawn from Comox Lake through BC Hydro power generation infrastructure. We are fortunate to have Comox Lake as the source for our drinking water, but the lake does not offer an infinite supply of fresh water. Learn more about why water restrictions are needed.

Information on CVRD Water Systems

Household Reference Guide for Water Restrictions