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In the yard

With residential outdoor water use the 2nd largest use of all water in the Okanagan, our yard is the place where we can have the greatest impact on our water supply.


The choices we make in our yards can also mean the difference between clean or polluted water leaving our property and entering local waterways.


Find tips to conserve and protect water quality below. 


Slow it. Spread it. Sink it! 
Slow It. Spread It. Sink It.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.

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.

Find Slow it. Spread it. Sink it! (7MB PDF) here


Build your own rain barrel!
An average rain event of 25mm on a 140 sq. m³ roof produces 3,500 litres of water. The average yearly rainfall in the Okanagan is 250 mm, or between 28,000 & 35,000 litres of run-off from the average roof. That’s a lot of free irrigation for your garden and less stress on water resources in times of drought or during water restrictions. PLUS – rain collection reduces storm sewer runoff, reduces pollution to creeks, rivers and lakes, and can contribute to erosion prevention.

Check out this popular DIY video, created in partnership with Regional District of North Okanagan. An accompanying Make Your Own Rain Barrel Guide is available here.


Wash your vehicle at the car wash or on your lawn
Make Water Work - wash your car on the lawnWater 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.


Okanagan Lakeshore Living GuideLakeshore Life Hacks
A foreshore survey conducted in Fall 2016 found only 41% of the Okanagan’s lakefront remains in a natural state. The shoreline is important habitat to a growing number of threatened and endangered species in our valley. It also provides flood protection and helps protect water quality.

The Okanagan Lakeshore Living Guide was created for Okanagan property owners who are looking for practical solutions to protect their property from flooding, wave erosion, safeguard drinking water, and protect these natural areas for future generations.

This guide offers practical solutions to help protect these special places and reverse the loss of this sensitive habitat.

Find Okanagan Lakeshore Living Guide online here
, or download the PDF.


Make Water Work!
Make Water WorkMost 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 (OXA) provides a plant database that can help plan your garden based on plant size, colour, bloom months, size, and spread.

Looking for an easy place to start? Check out the Make Water Work Plant Collection, created in partnership with OXA, including planting tips and more, here.


Stay WaterWise with these pool pointers
Make Water Work - cover your poolRemember to cover your swimming pool and hot tub when not using it. A lot of water can be lost 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 cover can reduce that water loss by 90%. Be cool! Reducing the temperature in warmer months can also prevent water loss. And, check for leaks! 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.

Bylaws around the Okanagan prevent draining of residential pools and hot tubs containing chlorine, salt water and bromine into?storm drains in order to?protect waterways.

Check your community's bylaws for proper draining procedures. Find a list of utility partners here.


Building Climate Resilience in the Okanagan – A Homeowner’s Resource Guide
Homeowners Resource GuideThe climate in the Okanagan is changing. The Building Climate Resilience in the Okanagan homeowner’s guide summarizes climate challenges, including flooding, drought and fire, and provides solutions to help local residents protect and enhance their home.

Find the Building Climate Resilience in the Okanagan – A Homeowner’s Resource Guide online here.




Outdoor Water Use






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.


Take a listen to this award-winning, Okanagan WaterWise-inspired, Xeriscape Rap for ideas in your yard!


For xeriscaping or native-planting ideas, visit:

For tips on choosing an irrigation contractor and a list of local certified pros, visit:

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Okanagan WaterWise is an education and outreach program of the Okanagan Basin Water Board
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