The Columbia Basin Trust has announced the success of a water conservation project that saw communities reduce their water consumption between 2 and 39 per cent.

“Columbia Basin communities have worked hard and have been recognized as emerging leaders in water conservation,” said Tim Hicks, Columbia Basin trust manager, Water and Environment. “Their collective accomplishments are significant and could not have happened without the hard work and dedication of each participating community. I offer my congratulations for being leaders in water conservation and working together to conserve our water resources.”

The Trust stated that Water Smart’s collaborative, regional, data-driven model has been recognized as unique, and that academics, utility professionals, and water experts across Canada are taking note of the success and its transferability to other regions.

Through Water Smart, the Trust provided a wide range of resources to participating communities: a technical support team; a public outreach program called Water Smart Ambassadors; accredited training for water utility operators; support to collect and analyze water use data more accurately, which helped communities identify how to conserve water most effectively; an online hub for sharing news, tools and resources; community-specific Water Smart Action Plans; grants for community water conservation projects.

“Our participation in Water Smart has been instrumental in our community’s water conservation success,” said Dave Cockwell, City of Fernie director of operational services. “One-to-one support for water conservation planning and practical training has resulted in significant and sustainable water savings. It has also improved our capacity to continue this work into the future as a normal part of water utility operations.”

The Columbia Basin Trust is mandated under B.C.’s Columbia Basin Trust Act to manage the area’s assets for the ongoing economic, environmental, and social benefit of the region, without relieving governments of any obligations in the region. They are also mandated under the Columbia Basin Management Plan to include the people of the Basin in planning for the management of the assets and to work with others to coordinate activities related to the purpose of the Trust.

Formed in 1995, the Trust was created in response to the Columbia River Treaty. The treaty was a bi-national agreement ratified in 1964 that formed several storage dams in the basin that mostly benefited communities outside the area, displacing 2,300 residents.

Read about the full scope of the reduction in water usage at the Columbia Basin Trust’s website.


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