The Regional District of Nanaimo is updating its water conservation plan. (File photo)

Regional District of Nanaimo updating water conservation plans

Region setting water conservation targets for Nanoose Bay and other water service areas

The Regional District of Nanaimo is updating its water conservation plan.

The new plan will focus on reducing overall residential consumption, limiting peak summer demand and addressing non-revenue water loss. The RDN has nine water services areas in the region that include Englishman River Community, French Creek, Melrose Terrace, Nanoose Bay Peninsula, San Pareil, Surfside, Westurne Heights and Whiskey Creek.

The latest water conservation plan, once adopted by the RDN board, will serve as an ongoing operation guideline in the next 10 years, through 2030. It builds on the RDN’s first water conservation plan, adopted in 2013.

In 2018, progress from the original document was assessed and results showed annual daily use per connection decreased steadily from 2004 to 2017. The maximum monthly production remained below the 2004 reference level from 2011 to 2017.

According to water services engineering technician Joe McCallum, in his report to the RDN’s committee of the whole on July 14, the successes the RDN has experienced have been reinforced with refined targets in the updated water conservation plan.

“There is room for continual improvement and incorporating up-to-date best practices to increase water efficiency,” McCallum indicated in his report.

READ MORE: Regional District of Nanaimo wants Sandpiper water quality issues addressed quickly

Econics was commissioned by the RDN to help with the review and update of the water conservation plan. In late 2019 Econics identified and reviewed relevant existing RDN programs, then used forecasting models to predict future demand, and also reviewed water usage and production figures to assess demand and non-revenue water loss.

Residents were engaged and asked to provide input into the development of measures, targets and objectives through the RDN’s Getinvolved webpage, which was promoted through utility bill insert and via social media platforms. The feedback was used in the updated water conservation plan, which has five key themes. They are: reduce outdoor water use; commercial, institutional and multi-family residential pilot project; review water service rates; improve water use accounting and manage of non-revenue water; and continue water-conservation outreach.

One target to measure success of the updated plan is reduce single family residential consumption by 15 per cent to 275 litres per capita per day by 2030.

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