Mindful Water Use

By July 29, 2021No Comments

Mindful Water Use

Residents have been looking for more guidance regarding what is in and out of bounds while the City is on watering restrictions.  The overarching principle is that where possible, we encourage residents to practice mindful water use.  While this should always be a guiding principle, it becomes especially important during periods of extreme drought.

Why is the City focusing on lawn watering restrictions?

In Merritt, water consumption per person is approximately 2.5x higher in summer months than it is during winter months, with the difference primarily explained by outdoor watering.  The bulk of outdoor watering goes to lawns.  We recognize that allowing lawns to go dormant is a major sacrifice for residents, though this step has the single greatest impact on reducing overall water consumption in the summer.  These restrictions support the health of our rivers and aquifers, which are not impervious to extreme drought.

Where do we go from here?

Merritt has a semi-arid climate, though in many cases, our landscaping and water use practices are not yet reflective of that.  Over time, the City of Merritt will be implementing xeriscaping for City projects and actively encouraging residents to consider a similar approach, with lawns playing a more minor role in the overall landscape scheme.  Through the Fraser Basin Council, we are studying groundwater and surface water interactions to better understand the impacts of City water consumption on river levels, with the intent to minimize those impacts.  A refresh of the City’s Water Utility Masterplan will explore the feasibility of additional water sources that may have lesser impacts on our river systems.  The City will explore the feasibility of water metering, to support reduced consumption and to limit the necessity for water system expansion.

We understand that residents have diverse opinions on what can and should be done regarding water in our region.  Some feel that these water restrictions are overdone, while others feel we should be doing more. Some feel that there should be no development or extremely limited development in the City until further water management projects are complete.  There are those who would like to see improved water management practices implemented concurrently with development projects. 

Water is a shared resource with values that extend outside of City of Merritt boundaries.   In implementing these restrictions, the City is working to balance the needs of diverse residents, neighbouring communities, the environment, and the local economy, while trying to be proactive in the event that drought conditions worsen and/or persist for an extended duration.

We sincerely thank you for your sacrifices and willingness to support mindful water use practices. 

Question and Answer

  • Q: Can I fill my kiddie pool?
  • A: Yes
  • Q: Can I turn on sprinklers to allow kids to run through them?
  • A: Consider utilizing the Rotary Spray Park!  If that doesn’t work for you, keep your time running the sprinkler brief.  
  • Q: Can I wash my car?
  • A: Yes, use a bucket and hand scrub, giving the car a quick rinse at the end using a controlled flow nozzle.  Also consider using a commercial car wash.
  • Q: Can I power wash my driveway or home?
  • A: Ideally, these activities will be postponed until the drought level is reduced.
  • Q: Are there limitations on how much I can water with a controlled flow nozzle?
  • A: We understand the need to keep shrubs, trees and gardens alive and are encouraging residents to water no more than is necessary to keep plants healthy.
  • Q: Are there restrictions on water use inside my home?
  • A: No, though once again, we encourage you to be mindful!  Small things like turning off the tap while you brush your teeth all add up.

For More Information Contact:
City of Merritt
Phone: (250) 378-4224

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