Dawna Tilbury

‘Wise Water’ savings to be demonstrated

It would be safe to say this has not been the warmest, driest spring on record. But when the hot weather does hit, those with lawns and gardens will be looking for ways to tend their yards while using as little water as possible.

That’s why now is the time to get Water Wise and learn about sustainable gardening – especially when helpful tools are less expensive than ever and the current rainfall can be collected for later use.

The Township of Langley and Langley Environmental Partners Society are gearing up for the summer by officially opening their Demonstration Garden and launching this year’s Water Wise program, which will target residents in Murrayville.

“We won’t just be knocking on doors,” said garden coordinator Liz Kendler. “Residents will be able to come to the Demonstration Garden to follow up, ask questions about sustainable outdoor water use, and take part in programs.”

The Demonstratration Garden is located at 4887 – 221 Street, in the same community where Water Wise staff and volunteers will be educating the public about easy ways to reduce water use in their homes, backyards, and businesses.

Starting mid-June, Water Wise representatives will visit 1,700 homes to encourage people to take the Water Conservation Challenge. They will explain that lawns need no more than one inch of water per week and can survive happily in the “golden” state with no water at all until the rain returns in the fall.

Residents throughout the community can also learn about Water Wise methods – along with how to attract beneficial bugs, create habitat for birds and butterflies, elimintate pesticides, and use sustainable gardening techniques –  at the Demonstration Garden, which is now open every day from dawn to dusk. The garden, which recently won the provincial Environmental Leadership Award from the B.C. Recreation and Parks Association, also has staff on hand to answer questions from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mondays to Thursdays.

To officially open the garden and launch this season’s Water Wise program, a community event featuring free kids activities, crafts, presentations, music, and a barbecue by donation will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 11. Composting workshops will be held at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and visitors can bring a sample of their compost in, consult with the Compost Queen, and learn how to make their compost bins sweet-smelling and fly-free.

Rain barrels will be offered for sale at the barbecue and the Water Wise program’s Taryn Hesketh hopes residents will take advantage of the current wet weather and save the rain water for the dry spell that is sure to come.

“It’s chlorine-free and good for plants,” she said, adding that staff can help residents resolve any mosquito-related concerns they may have.

Water Wise will also be selling indoor and outdoor water conservations kits at the event  – $15 for the outdoor set and $10 for indoors – which are also available anytime at all Township community recreation centres.

Kendler noted that half of the Township’s tap water for the municipal system comes from underground sources. In Aldergrove, 100 per cent of the community’s water is drawn from aquifers. During the hot, dry months that precious resource can be depleted more quickly than it is replenished.

“People with private wells need to think about water conservation all the time,” she said, “but others need to think about it too – and think ahead.”

Water Wise also offers a toilet rebate program that returns $80 to those installing more efficient models, and throughout the season, the Demonstration Garden will offer workshops, children’s programs, and special youth nights, including a live band and barbecue on July 9 and a movie night on August 6.

For more information, visit tol.ca/waterwise