Water Stewardship

Water Conservation Strategy

Bibliography and Appendices


American Water Works Association. 1994. Integrated Resource Planning: A Balanced Approach to Water Resources Decision Making. Denver, CO.

Baumann, D.D., J.J. Boland, J.H. Sims. 1980. The Problem of Defining Water Conservation. The Cornett Papers, University of Victoria; Victoria, B.C.
pp 125-134.

B.C. Ministry of Environment Lands and Parks. 1997. Groundwater in British Columbia. State of Environment Reporting.

B.C. Ministry of Municipal Affairs. 1995. Brochure on Growth Strategies.

Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. November 1995. Report on the Implementation of the National Action Plan to Encourage Municipal Water Use Efficiency. Ottawa, Ont.

Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. 1994. National Action Plan to Encourage Water Use Efficiency. Prepared by the CCME Water Use Efficiency Task Group.

Cuthbert, Richard W. and Pamela R. Lemoine. November 1996. "Conservation oriented water rates", in Journal. Vol. 88. No. 11. American Water Works Association. Denver, CO.

Environment Canada. 1996. Municipal Water Pricing Database (MUP). Managed by the Ecosystem and Environmental Resources Directorate.

Environment Canada. 1996. Municipal Water Use Database (MUD). Managed by the Ecosystem and Environmental Resources Directorate.

Environment Canada. 1987. Federal Water Policy.

Foster, Harold D. and W.R. Derrick Sewell. 1981. Water the Emerging Crisis in Canada. James Lorimer & Company and the Canadian Institute for Economic Policy. Toronto, Ont.

Maddaus, William O., Gwendolyn Gleason and John Darmody. November 1996. "Integrating Conservation into Water Supply Planning", in Journal. Vol. 88. No. 11. American Water Works Association. Denver, CO.

McGill University. 1996. Report on the State of Municipal Infrastructure in Canada. Commissioned by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. 1993. Stewardship of the Water of British Columbia. A Vision for New Water Management Policy and Legislation. Victoria, B.C..

Mitchell, David L. and Dr. W. Michael Hanemann. 1994. Setting Urban Water Rates for Efficiency and Conservation: A Discussion of Issues. Prepared for The California Urban Water Conservation Council.

Pekelney, David M., Thomas W. Chesnutt and David L. Mitchell. June 1996. "Cost-Effective Cost-Effectiveness: Quantifying Conservation on the Cheap".

Presented at the AWWA National Conference. Toronto, Ont.

Polvi, Dean D. 1998. Key Features of Social Marketing. A summary presented to Go Green Victoria based on: Kotler, Philip. 1987. Strategic Marketing for Nonprofit Organizations. Prentice-Hall Inc. Englewood Cliffs, NJ. and Andreasen, Alan, R. 1995. Marketing Social Change. Georgetown University. Washington, DC.

Statistics Canada. 1997. Census Population of B.C. and Canada, 1871 to 1996.

Tate, D.M. 1990. Water Demand Management in Canada: A State-of-the-Art Review. Social Science Series No. 23. Inland Waters Directorate,
Environment Canada. Ottawa, Ont.



Water Conservation Strategy Working Group

The overall goal of the Water Conservation Strategy is to ensure sufficient water for all uses and facilitate the move toward a more sustainable approach to managing water resources.

To be successful, the Water Conservation Strategy for British Columbia requires commitment and active participation from a variety of sectors and interests. A Working Group has been organized to assist in developing the strategy. The Working Group consists of water conservation leaders throughout the province as well as key players in developing future initiatives.

The strategy is intended to be action oriented and will build upon the work currently underway in several municipalities, regional districts and improvement districts. Users of the strategy document should be able to view it as a menu of tools, opportunities and suggestions from which they are encouraged to select and implement only those which they feel are complementary to their own set of circumstances.


The mandate of the Working Group is to produce a strategy document. As part of the mandate, the following components will be included:

  • A vision, principles, goals and objectives to guide water use efficiency;
  • An overview of water use efficiency initiatives throughout the province; and
  • Strategic directions and actions.


Local Governments

In February 1998, the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (MELP) (now called Ministry of Environment [MoE]), on behalf of the Water Conservation Strategy Working Group, contracted the compilation of existing or planned water use efficiency initiatives throughout British Columbia. The complete survey results are reported in the Water Use Efficiency Catalogue for British Columbia, located on the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks web page.

The "Catalogue" was developed to promote co-operation and information sharing, and to serve as a resource. It lists water conservation measures by type and agency. The catalogue also draws on the experience of water providers by noting important details (where provided) including keys to success, costs, and actual and potential water savings.

A total of 127 surveys (66%) were completed. 76% of the respondents indicated that they have adopted some water conservation measures as part of their water management programs. The following is a summary of results from the survey.

Legal tools

  • Mandatory restrictions (57%) and bylaws (50%) were the two most commonly identified legal tools employed by survey respondents to reduce water use. Closely related, legislation was identified as a means of increasing water use efficiency by both the federal and provincial governments. Other legal tools included regulations (23%), standards (12%) and licensing (4%).

Economic and Financial Tools

  • Metering studies and pilot projects (21%) are the most popular economic/financial tools employed by survey respondents. Others chose to use pricing structures and analysis (13%), inclining block rate structures (13%), fines for excess use (10%), cost/benefit analysis (7%), service charges (6%), and seasonal rates (4%).

Operations and Management Tools

  • Metering programs (16%) are the most commonly employed operations and management tools. A further breakdown of survey results, from those who adopted water conservation measures, reveals 57% employ them for commercial or industrial customers, 30% are in place for residential customers, and 16% for agricultural/irrigation customers.
  • 36% of respondents reported making water supply improvements. Leak detection programs, low flow/retrofit programs, and development of Emergency Response Plans were identified by respondents, 26%, 23% and 23% of the time, respectively.
  • Watershed protection (20%), computer upgrades (16%), xeriscaping (14%) and water audits (14%) were also employed.

Planning Tools

  • Municipal, local or regional land-use planning, and watershed management planning were each identified by 20% of respondents reporting the use of conservation measures.

Voluntary Restrictions

  • A predominantly local measure where residents are asked to voluntarily restrict their use of water during dry spells and peak demand periods. Approximately 34% of all respondents employing water conservation included voluntary measures among their conservation tools.

Educational and Information Sharing Initiatives

  • Local governments engaged in educating residential water users rely on a number of means of communicating their message. Chief among these is media announcements (47%), information supplements with water bills (42%), and other assorted publications and public information packages (29%). Other notable measures include voluntary low flow/retrofit programs (18%), community and special events, public displays and exhibits (14%), workshops and seminars (11%).
  • Information with billing (22%) and announcements using various media sources (20%) were identified as the most popular means of educating the commercial/ industrial community. Other devices for educating this sector included publications, workshops, seminars, user committees and task forces.
  • School program initiatives, identified by respondents reporting the use of conservation measures, included: curriculum programs (20%), class tours of water facilities (16%), publications (10%), and poster, writing and other contests for students (10%).

Lead by Example Initiatives

  • 32% of respondents whose organization has adopted water conservation measures are engaged in water efficient landscaping, including: xeriscaping, water efficient irrigation, operations and maintenance, and climate comfort systems for landscaped areas. In addition, 27% and 23% respectively, practice early detection/early repair of leaks and water efficient operations. Low flow/retrofit programs (16%) and employee education programs (16%) are also well represented, although education for elected officials lags somewhat behind at 10%. Conservation libraries and reduced water pressure in government buildings were also identified (9% and 6%, respectively).

Partnerships and Co-operation Initiatives

  • Respondents reported inter-governmental partnerships (12%) partnerships with (other) utilities (13%), government — industry partnerships (5%) and partnerships with major users (8%). Some examples of co-operative endeavours include landscape-related activities with landscape/irrigation experts, tourism related activities, co-operative associations with special interest groups and partnerships with science/educational enterprises.

Provincial Government Initiatives

  • Water use efficiency has been identified under Section 10 of the Fish Protection Act as a potential measure for providing additional water for fish and fish habitat in a water management plan. (Note: this section of the Act has not yet been proclaimed to date).

Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (MELP)
Pollution Prevention and Waste Management Branch

The proposed "Municipal Sewage Regulations" will encourage the use of reclaimed water to address the issues of shortages; increasing supply needs from, and discharges to, streams and aquifers located within municipalities. Uses for municipal effluent via supporting infrastructure such as a third pipe include toilets, outdoor residential and commercial landscaping uses, and hay irrigation. The main targets for indoor re-use will be office and commercial buildings.

Water Management Branch

The Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks is currently leading or supporting a number of environmental education activities aimed at school children and the general public. Specific educational initiatives and activities with water conservation messages include:

  • Community Water Educators — development and delivery of water education materials to a broad audience in several communities throughout the province;
  • Green Team Water Crew — development and delivery of school education workshops;
  • Environmental Youth Team — funding to support municipal education programs;
  • Project Wet — purchase of teach the teacher packages for distribution at workshops conducted by WILD BC

Ministry of Municipal Affairs (MMA)

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs will release a new Building and Plumbing Code this fall. The current reference to maximum flow rates of fittings and water closet or urinal flush cycles has been extracted from the code and developed as a separate regulation. An additional page will be attached to the regulation acknowledging the Water Conservation Strategy for British Columbia, noting that the regulation will be updated.

The Ministry is considering ways to address water use efficiency in their infrastructure grant program. Water efficient measures that may be encouraged or required include:

  • water audit and leak detection programs; universal metering and conservation pricing structures; and accurate records of water consumption and quality, representing a period of years

Ministry of Agriculture & Foods (MAF)

The Ministry of Agriculture & Food has been actively involved in testing and piloting water efficiency measures for several years. For example, in February 1990, the Ministry co-funded the Summary Report on Demand Management of Irrigation District Water Supplies in the Okanagan Valley with Agriculture Canada. The report made several conclusions regarding the costs and benefits of implementing an integrated program, including recognition of the value of:

  • universal metering for service connections;
  • a water rate structure based on the "user pay" principle; and
  • possible public education avenues.

The Ministry is currently developing the following manuals and guides:

  • B.C. Trickle Irrigation Design Manual — to be completed in early 1999, this document establishes design methodology, system operation and maintenance for trickle irrigation systems in British Columbia.
  • Irrigation Scheduling Guide — to be completed in 2000, this document will provide information on the scheduling and timing of irrigation applications.

British Columbia Buildings Corporation (BCBC)

In 1997, the BC Buildings Corporation adopted technical standards that require increased efficiencies in irrigation and landscaping for all provincially owned and operated buildings. It has also endorsed the installation of sensors and timers in landscaped areas, including:

  • the fountain located adjacent to the legislative building, which has been equipped with a sensor that turns the water off when winds reach 25 km per hour;
  • "climate comfort system" sensors which turn sprinklers off when it rains; and
  • timers so that sprinkler systems only run during the night or late evening / early morning.

BCBC has also constructed a new water efficient government health building in Sooke, B.C..

Federal Initiatives

The federal government has been a leader in the development of water use efficiency dialogue and policies.

The 1987 Federal Water Policy clearly stated the need to acknowledge the value of water and revise water pricing structures to reflect full costs and the user pay principle. The federal policy is currently being updated.

In 1994, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) led the development of the National Action Plan to Encourage Municipal Water Use Efficiency (1994). The key objective of the National Action Plan is to provide municipalities with ways to reduce water use and subsequently defer or decrease the need to expand existing water/waste water infrastructure, thus saving costs and energy. Elements of the Plan included:

a) Government Leadership, through

  • water use efficiency measures in government owned and publicly funded facilities;
  • consistent policies, regulations and codes;
  • public education and awareness strategies; and
  • encouraging use of existing water efficient products and development of new products.

b) Encouraging Municipal Water Efficiency, through

  • senior government assistance, promotion and regulation

Federal "Green Plan" funds were provided to the Southeast Kelowna Irrigation District for a metering program in February 1994. The program resulted in the installation of 400 irrigation meters. In turn, data from the meters resulted in the development of a software program that identifies periods of inefficient use based on variables such as weather and soil conditions.

Several discussion papers and research reports have been developed on topics such as water pricing and demand management.

Environment Canada has produced a series of Water Wise pamphlets and associated water use efficiency materials. These may be accessed via the Environment Canada web-sites: www.cciw.ca/glimr/data/water-wise-pamphlets and www.ec.gc.ca/water/e_main.html.

B.C. Water and Waste Association (BCWWA)

The B.C. Water and Waste Association has been instrumental in addressing water use efficiency in the province. In 1992, the Association formed a water conservation committee (currently called the water use efficiency committee). This committee organized two technology transfer seminars over the following two years as part of the annual BCWWA conference. The seminars focussed on water conservation strategies and experiences, and planning and implementing water conservation.

In 1995 the BCWWA committee merged with the provincial committee of the National Task Force (the task force developed the National Action Plan) and took on the leadership role to advocate municipal water use efficiency in the province. The Water Use Efficiency Committee is represented by the federal and provincial governments; a broad spectrum of local governments; BC Hydro; the Water Supply Association of B.C. and the academic community.

Among the accomplishments of the BCWWA committee is a series of seminars that were delivered from 1995 to 1997. These seminars were intended to raise awareness of the National Action Plan; introducing participants to water use issues, the concept of water use efficiency, and how local governments can implement a water use efficiency plan. The concept behind the implementation of best management practices through a partnership agreement has been a key goal of the committee over the past couple of years.

BC Hydro and Power Authority

BC Hydro's Power Smart Program includes water-conserving devices such as low flow showerheads and faucets.

Irrigation Industry of British Columbia

The industry has been very progressive in establishing standards that ensure consistency and quality in the installation and maintenance of a variety of irrigation technologies.

Information on irrigation system design and operation is available including:

  • Evapotranspiration Rates for Turf Grass in B.C.
  • Determining Turf Irrigation Requirements and an Irrigation Schedule

Courses are offered on:

  • Irrigation Auditing
  • Sprinkler System Design
  • Drip System Design

B.C. Nursery Trades Association, Irrigation Industry of B.C., Western Canada Turfgrass Association, B.C. Society of Landscape Architects & Greater Vancouver Water District

This group collectively developed and are delivering a seminar series that provides landscape professionals with water use efficiency information and resources specific to their needs.


B.C. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (now called Ministry of Environment)
Water Protection Section
3rd Floor, 2975 Jutland Rd. Victoria V8T 5J9
PO Box 9341 Stn Prov Gov Victoria V8W 9M1
Phone: (250) 387-9932
Fax: (250) 356-7197

Enquiry B.C. service.
Victoria: (250) 387-6121
Greater Vancouver: (604) 660-2421
Elsewhere in B.C.: 1-800-663-7867
By Telephone Device for the Deaf (TDD): Greater Vancouver: 775-0303
Elsewhere in B.C.: 1-800-661-8773

E-mail: Water, Air and Climate Change Branch

You may also visit the Ministry web page at http://www.gov.bc.ca/wlap

See the Ministry's website for the Water Use Efficiency Catalogue for British Columbia

B.C. Ministry of Municipal Affairs
Municipal Financial Services
Victoria, B.C. V8W 9N7
Phone: 387-4077
Fax: 356-1873
website: http://www.marh.gov.bc.ca

B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries
1767 Angus Campbell Rd.
Abbotsford, B.C.
V3G 2M3
Phone: 604-556-3100
Fax: 604-556-3099

Environment Canada
Environmental Conservation Branch
Ste 700 - 1200 West 73rd Avenue
Vancouver, B.C. V6B 6H9
Phone: (604) 664-9127
Fax: (604) 664-9126

Environment Canada has produced a series of Water Wise pamphlets and associated water use efficiency materials.

Web-sites: http://www.cciw.ca/glimr/data/water-wise-pamphlets


Greater Vancouver Regional District
4330 Kingsway
Burnaby, B.C. V5H 4G8
Phone: (604) 432-6200 Fax: (604) 432-6399
E-mail: gvrd.communications@gvrd.bc.ca
Website: http://www.gvrd.bc.ca/

B.C. Water and Waste Association
Water Use Efficiency Committee
#221 - 8678 Greenall Ave.
Burnaby, B.C. V5J 3M4
Phone: (604) 433-4389
Fax: (604) 433-9859
Website: http://www.bcwwa.org/

Water Supply Association of B.C.
P.O. Box 22022
Penticton, B.C. V2A 8L1
Phone: (250) 497-5407
E-Mail: watersupply@shaw.ca
Website: http://www.wsabc.com/

B.C. Agriculture Council
#102-1482 Springfield Rd.
Kelowna, B.C. V1Y 5V3
Phone: (604) 763-9790
Fax: (604) 762-2997
E-mail: bcac@bcagcouncil.com
Website: http://www.bcac.bc.ca/

Irrigation Industry Association of British Columbia
2330 Woodstock Drive,
Abbotsford, B.C.
V3G 2E5
Phone / Fax: (604) 859-8222
E-mail: iiabc@irrigationbc.com
Website: http://www.irrigationbc.com/

BC Hydro
Power Smart
Energy Information Centre 1-800-663-0431

Intergovernmental Committee on Urban and Regional Research (ICURR)
150 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 301
Toronto, Ont. M4P 1E8
Phone: (416) 973-5629
Fax: (416) 973-1375
internet: http://www.icurr.org/icurr/