Water Ambassador Summer Program

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Greater Vernon Water

Project Description:

This program trained two summer staff to become Ambassadors for water sustainability in the North Okanagan. These staff members also participated in Farmers' Markets, community events, and public demonstrations where they delivered material on making water work and counter the myth of water abundance.

Over the course of the summer, the Water Ambassadors attended 11 farmers’ markets, 2 RDNO water conservation (irrigation & waterwise gardening) workshops, 3 festivals, 6 youth summer camps, and 16 boat launches – well over the 6 outreach events originally planned. The Ambassadors spent over 250 hours at boat launches speaking to boaters, local marine businesses, and fishermen and reported that 1216 boat trailers were seen at 2 boat launches (Paddlewheel Park, KalaVista) based on counts taken twice daily over the course of the July/August weekends, including approximately 300 from outside the Okanagan. Over 600 public contacts occurred at the farmers’ markets. At these events, the Ambassadors presented information on invasive species (primarily mussles) and water conservation/sustainability.

The Ambassadors also completed follow up work on an auditing program for residential landscapes initiated in 2013, taking monthly meter readings to assess water consumption following implementation of recommended waterwise gardening practices.

Finally, research was undertaken by the Ambassadors to support several initiatives. A check list was developed to recommend commercial auditing procedures, primarily for hotels. A similar check list was developed for car washes that covered both water conservation and to note car wash elements (e.g. wash temperature) helpful for Conservation Officers needing to decontaminate boats infested with zebra mussles. Research was also completed on local irrigation/landscaping companies to find those with staff having IIABC certification. A list of companies was developed to provide the public with recommendations when looking for irrigation services and to aid staff in preparing for planned industry workshops.

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