LETTER: Nelson needs a moratorium on lawn watering

From reader Howie Ross…

Do water meters help conserve water? It’s very debatable. I applaud the city’s attempt to get people to conserve water.

On the surface it seems that metering is the logical solution; the right direction.

The obvious shortcoming is people could think that they’re paying for water and could use unlimited amounts.

Some people can afford the water bill, others struggle to just get by on fixed incomes, and will be burdened with increased bills. Access to clean potable water is a human right; in Nelson we already pay for water.

Conserve Water!

Lawn watering should be stopped immediately, in the opinion of many who study water usage and conservation.

Not only on golf courses. On residential lawns, which use inordinate amounts of our domestic water supply.

Let lawns brown, they won’t die. They should be replaced with vegetable gardens or xeriscape landscaping practises. These methods require minimal water, and are very attractive. Definition of xeriscape (Merriam Webster): “Landscaping method developed especially for arid climates that utilizes water-conserving techniques (such as drought-tolerant plants, mulch, and efficient irrigation).”

Nelson is not arid, however these methods definitely suit our increasing drought cycles.

When we think water shortages, it’s typically California where domestic taps have run dry in many communities, or the Middle East where wars are fought over scarce water.

In Nelson we routinely have water restrictions and certainly will be again, given the current climate changes we are experiencing.

In the Nelson Official Community Plan, water is addressed: “insufficient primary source (5 Mile Creek) during drought years.” Even with additional sources, it’s wise for residents to begin changing water use habits now, ahead of the curve.

In B.C. there are landscaping companies that focus on creating drought tolerant xeriscape lawns that use little or no water. Nelson, as well?

Even with extremely heavy precipitation of snow/rain this year, with the current upcoming heat wave, the fire danger will increase substantially. Would we rather have green lawns, or the ability to fight fires?

The City of Nelson should implement an immediate moratorium on lawn watering, only allowing watering of vegetable gardens, with minimal watering of flower gardens.

Although there are studies that support the use of water metering, many are biased. There are many studies that support an opposing view. For example: http://eausecours.org/esdossiers/compteurs_ang.pdf

Howie Ross

Nelson