Water conservation might be one of the last things on the minds of residents this time of year, but for the City of Charlottetown’s Water and Sewer Utility staff it’s at the forefront.
The Utility is already prepping for the year ahead; reviewing the success of previous conservation programs and gearing up for increased efforts in water loss management, renewed incentives and the next phase of the residential water meter installation program.
"Through the work of our Utility Department, we have been able to reduce the amount of water the City extracts because of our existing conservation programs and the commitment of the public to reduce water use," said Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee. "The Utility programs have been extremely successful, but the last thing we want to become is complacent. Water conservation must continue to be priority into 2016 and beyond."
The City’s residential water meter program, launched in October, has seen about 350 water meters installed to date. That’s in addition to more than a 2,200 that have been installed since 2010. The next phase of the water meter program will see meters installed between Riverside Drive and Belvedere Avenue and in the area around Westridge Crescent. (A map of the zones is available here: www.charlottetown.ca/WaterMeters.php).
The new meters will allow customers to track their water use as well as detect leaks in their home.
The City also distributed all of its rain barrels, gave away more than 250 low-flow showerheads, sold 70 water conservation kits, provided more than 100 clothes washer rebates, and was instrumental in phasing out toilets that had a flush cycle using more than six litres through its low-flow toilet rebate program.
"As we head into the New Year, we’re focusing on water loss management which includes looking into updating our source meters to newer technology to ensure greater accuracy in extraction reporting and the implementation of a leak survey program," said Councillor Edward Rice, Chair of the City’s Water and Sewer Utility Committee. "This program, once implemented, will lead to less costly repairs and fewer damages from large main breaks."
Councillor Rice said much of the success of the City’s conservation programs is owed to the dedication of staff and the commitment of residents.
"It is this dedication and commitment that will ensure we continue to see success in the area of efficient water use and water conservation," Rice said. "We have so many people to thank for that."
Utility Conservation Program Facts:
• More than 2,550 flat-rate customers have been converted to metered customers since 2010, including nearly 350 since the Residential Water Meter Installation Program launched in October.
• Utility customers can still volunteer to have a meter installed sooner than later as part of the residential water meter installation program. Appointments can be made by calling Bevan Bros. Plumbing and Heating at: 902-368-3456. (www.charlottetown.ca/WaterMeters.php).
• The Utility will continue to offer a clothes washer rebate for customer who purchase an Energy Star® certified clothes washer. More than 100 rebates have been issued since the program launched in 2014. (www.charlottetown.ca/clotheswasherrebateprogram.php).
• Customers are offered a wide range of choices in the City’s Showerhead Exchange Program. The Utility offers low-flow showerheads as an incentive to customers to reduce their water consumption. Customers with showerheads having a flow of 2.5 gpm/9.5lpm or more are eligible for two exchanges per account. (www.charlottetown.ca/showerrebate.php).
• With changes to provincial regulations in 2014 and the additional requirement that the flush cycle of a toilet is to be low flow or not exceed six litres, the Utility made the decision to discontinue its toilet rebate program in March. Since the program began in 2011, the Utility provided nearly 1,000 rebates.
• The Utility supports and encourages rainwater harvesting projects. A grant was provided to the Desbrisay Community Garden to install an accessible storage shed complete with gutters and a rain barrel to promote rainwater harvesting.
• The Utility worked with other City departments to have a water storage tank installed at Simmons Arena. Water runoff from the roof will provide departments with rainwater to use for watering the City’s plants.
• Over the past five years, the Utility provided $160,000 funding to the Winter River Tracadie Bay Watershed group. This funding is primarily used for the core expenses that are not eligible for grant funding. Funds assist the WRTBWG with projects such as nutrient management, stream enhancements, and tree planting.
• The Charlottetown Water and Sewer Utility launched an extensive Water Conservation Plan which will guide the City’s conservation efforts into the year 2020. (The plan can be found in the Water Conservation section of this webpage: www.charlottetown.ca/waterutility.php).
City of Charlottetown