May 19th, 2024

Standing policy committee to hear water conservation report

By Lethbridge Herald on April 10, 2024.

Herald photo by Al Beeber Sprinklers spray water onto Henderson Lake Golf Course on Wednesday.

Al Beeber

The Economic and Finance Standing Policy Committee of Lethbridge city council today will be asked to recommend to council it accept the City’s 2024 water conservation plan and strategy.

Manager of Engineering & Environment Mark Svenson will be making a presentation to the SPC which meets at 12:30 in council chambers. The report will be submitted by Director of Infrastructure Services Joel Sanchez.

The SPC consists of the mayor and all members of council.

Svenson’s report says a plan is needed because the changing climate and current weather patterns have emphasized the need for water conservation, water which the City refers to as a life source as well as a resource.

“We all share the responsibility to ensure a healthy, secure,and sustainable supply for our communities, environment, and economy,” says the report.

During summer months, treated water use increases by more than 200 per cent, due mainly to watering of laws and landscaping.

“When voluntary conservation measures fail to produce the required results, or circumstances (i.e. drought) dictate that more concerted efforts are needed, water rationing may be implemented to ensure the City of Lethbridge can continue to provide treated potable water,” says the report.

Water usage varies by city neighbourhood with some areas lower or higher than average.

Water conservation should become habitual for all users in the city, including residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and the City of Lethbridge corporation itself, the report notes.

The report says City departments regularly review their practices and look to be more efficient in water usage.

The average daily water consumption in Lethbridge varies between residential and commercial sectors with on average a residential household consuming between 17 and 20 cubic metres, or 17,000 to 20,000 litres, per month.

Commercial use, says the report, depends on the type of businesses and their size.

The City has established conservation targets which start at a 10 per cent reduction in 2024-25 and goes to a 20 per cent reduction between 2028-30.

In 2023, the City treated more than 24 billion litres of water. Water usage starts to increase in May, peaking in July and averaging back out by the end of September.

During the peak in summer, water usage doubles in Lethbridge from 1.5 billion litres per month to more than three billion litres, with the majority of the summer increase attributed to the watering of lawns.

Voluntary recommended initiatives for all users include such things as replacing older fixtures with water efficient ones, implementing water conservation best practises, identifying and fixing leaks, using xeriscapy to reduce outdoor water demands and using rain barrels to capture rainfall.

A leaky toilet, points out the report, can waste more than 1,000 litres of water a day.

Recommended economic initiatives include the establishment of a rain barrel program, scaling water rates, creating and delivering a xeriscapy program and creating and delivering a water efficient toilet program.

Regulatory initiatives include putting water conservation into design standards, introducing a water conservation policy and creating a water rationing action plan.

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Scaling water rates? If you want to promote water conservation hats off to you but the city economically benefiting from it makes my radar go off. I’m sure the waste water will increase as well never mind that a significant amount doesn’t even enter the system.


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