Even on the days when Salmon Arm residents are not supposed to be sprinkling, high water use is stretching the city’s ability to keep up.
Rob Niewenhiuzen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, implores residents to cut down.
Mondays are a no-sprinkling day according to the city’s sprinkling regulations, yet even on Mondays recently, Salmon Arm’s water treatment plant is struggling to keep enough water flowing to replenish the city’s reservoirs, he said.
“The intent is that Mondays should have less water demand so that the city’s water treatment plant can ‘catch up’ and fill the reservoirs for the upcoming week. When residents choose not to adhere to the restrictions, this leaves the city very vulnerable to hazards such as fires and power outages which typically result from lightning storms that can occur during the hot dry periods.”
He points out that water consumption during the winter months is about six to eight million litres per day (ML/D), where the peak water consumption during the summer months is anywhere from 25 to 30-plus ML/D – providing some evidence that the surge in demand is primarily due to increased irrigation and sprinkling.
On Monday, July 5, a hot day, and theoretically a no-sprinkling day, 18 million liters of water were consumed in Salmon Arm.
Niewenhiuzen noted city staff and bylaw officers are currently out monitoring sprinkling restrictions and providing notices. Should enforcement be required, they will be issuing tickets to those contravening the restrictions.
Regarding the city’s parks, sports fields and flowers, Niewenhuizen said the sprinkling restrictions do not apply, but that doesn’t mean staff aren’t conscientious about water conservation.
“There is a major investment of tax dollars in the city’s green infrastructure and if it is not properly maintained or left to die out it would cost the taxpayers an enormous amount of money to reinstate this infrastructure. What you may not be aware of is that many of the city’s irrigation systems are controlled in part by our weather station. This allows the city to maximize the efficiency of the irrigation of its parks and fields. We also employ a full-time irrigation technician who is responsible for monitoring and ensuring proper system operation,” Niewenhuizen said.
He noted that although the spray/splash parks also contribute to higher water use, they are an important amenity and the service they provide as a cooling area for the public is invaluable.
Niewenhiuzen concluded: “I cannot stress enough the importance for residents of Salmon Arm to practise water conservation during these hot, dry times. This will ensure that the city has sufficient water in our reservoirs should an emergency situation arise.”
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