In the yard
With residential outdoor water use at 24% in the Okanagan, our yard is the place where we can have the biggest impact on our water supply.
Make Water Work!
Most of our residential water is used on lawns and gardens. Unfortunately, much of this water evaporates before it can benefit grass and plants. When we water in the hot sun, as much as half of the water is lost to evaporation. If we water when it’s really windy, the water can be blown past the plants it was meant for, and we end up watering our driveway, fence, or even the side of the house!
Just the simple act of watering in the cool of the evening makes every drop count. Find simple ways to Make Water Work best on your lawn and garden!
Xeriscape (not zero-scape!) your lawn
One of the greatest impacts we can have is to replace some of our lawn with native vegetation that needs less water to thrive! Some people think xeriscaping means replacing lawn with rocks or concrete, but this is not the case. There are plenty of beautiful, colourful plants to choose from. The Okanagan Xeriscape Association provides a plant database that can help plan your garden based on plant size, colour, bloom months, size, and spread.
Wash your vehicle at the car wash or on your lawn
Water that enters storm drains flows directly into streams and lakes, carrying chemicals from our yards, driveways, streets, and parking lots. When we wash a vehicle in our driveway, the soap, grease, and dirt is washed into the storm drain, damaging the health of our streams and lakes and the creatures that call them home.
Instead, take your vehicle to a car wash that recycles its water and treats it before it’s returned to the environment. If you must give the car a quick wash at home, use a trigger nozzle to prevent wasted water and wash the car over grass. The lawn will act as a natural filter that removes many of the chemicals before the water makes its way back to our lakes and streams.
Cover your swimming pool when not using it
Swimming pools can lose a lot of water through evaporation and wind if left uncovered. It is estimated that a 4.8 metre (16 foot) by 10.9 metre (36 foot) pool can lose at least 681 litres (180 gallons) of water a week. A pool cover can reduce that water loss by 90%.
Leaks can also be a major source of water loss. To detect a leak in your pool, mark your tile at the pool water level, and then check that mark in a week to determine the rate of water loss.
Slow it. Spread it. Sink it!
The Slow it. Spread it. Sink it! Okanagan Homeowner’s Guide is an easy-to-use guidebook, showing local residents how they can easily capture and re-use the water that falls on their property.
There are many reasons for collecting and using rainwater. First, the water that comes out of our taps has been cleaned and treated at great cost to your water provider – and you, the taxpayer. Using treated water on our gardens, and for other non-consumptive purposes, is not money well-spent. As more and more communities adopt the use of water meters, and we start paying for the amount of water we use, saving water will mean saving money.
Check out some beautiful WaterWise plants!
Okanagan water at work
The water of the Okanagan is needed for so many things… Our orchards, for fish, for drinking, and more. In this fun video, learn where water works best.
For xeriscaping or native-planting ideas, visit:
For tips on choosing an irrigation contractor and a list of local certified pros, visit:
- Irrigation Industry Association of BC - Selecting an Irrigation Contractor
- Irrigation Industry Association of BC - Certified Professionals in Your Area