Thanks to everyone who has participated in this project so far. We are no longer accepting new participants.
We are now working on the follow-up phase of this project, to see how much water all our participants were able to save.
Turning Average Joes Into Water Pros!
Our objective is to reduce water extraction from the Winter River through conservation. We will help provide the materials necessary for individuals and businesses to make significant reductions to their water usage. With more groundwater remaining for ecosystem health, all living things in the watershed will benefit from your efforts.
The Water Use Makeover Program is being launched by the Winter River – Tracadie Bay Watershed Association (WRTBWA) in an effort to provide the education and materials necessary for participants to make a lasting reduction in their water use, and thus reduction in water extracted from the Winter River watershed. The program is open to ~ 50 households and ~ 10 local businesses in the City of Charlottetown that have a water meter installed.
Photo: Brackley branch of the Winter River, at low flow (July – November) and normal flow (December – June)
Why does water conservation matter to Winter River?
The City of Charlottetown uses the Winter River watershed as its primary source of municipal water. Sourcing water from a single watershed for an entire city for the last 80 years is environmentally unsustainable and has had detrimental effects on the ecosystem within Winter River.
How can I get involved?
Participants will complete a short online survey to determine their eligibility for the program. Then interested, eligible participants will meet with our staff to complete a questionnaire outlining their current water use patterns, have our staff assess current water using devices within the home (ex. number of litres used per flush by your toilet) and receive suggestions for improvement. Staff can deliver all suggested items to your home and provide tips to help you with the installation.
Low flow toilets
Low flow showerheads
Planting of native shrubs
How much does it cost?
We have funding that will pay most of the costs of items suggested in this program. We have established a small fee for each item to cover the remainder of the cost. Below are the current participation fees for each item:
Rain barrels ($25.00)
Shower heads ($5.00)
Shower timer – digital ($5.00)
Shower timer – sand ($2.00)
Faucet aerators ($1.00)
Water Jug ($1.00)
However, we do not want these costs to be a barrier for participation. If you cannot afford these amounts, please ask us about possible fee reductions for low income families.
If interest in this program exceeds our capacity, participation may be limited to certain priority groups using information from a preliminary screening questionnaire. Business participants will likely be smaller businesses, with simple water use patterns. However, larger businesses may benefit from coaching, some friendly competition between participants, and improved corporate social responsibility.
Why are we doing this?
- Dry springs: 25 large groundwater springs in the Brackley area dry up for up to six months of the year
- Dry streams: A loss of 3.7 km of Brook Trout spawning habitat in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 by WRTBWA, plus anecdotal reports from residents in other years.
- Lower water levels: Once the springs go dry, the stream level drops until it eventually goes dry too. This leaves native Brook Trout and other aquatic species trapped in isolated pools where they ultimately perish due to predators or low oxygen levels, unless someone helps them with a “fish rescue”.
- Warm water: This large reduction of water decreases the base flow of the entire river system. This decrease in water depth and velocity, leads to an increase of the water temperature downstream during the hot summer months.
- Limitation on local water use: Strict irrigation limits for local farms, while business owners in Charlottetown can easily take more water — essentially prioritizing urban business owners over rural agribusinesses.
The use of rain barrels will also improve stormwater management within the City of Charlottetown, by reducing the high flow of water through streams and storm drains, saving it for a sunny day instead.
Sarah Wheatley, Watershed Coordinator
This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the federal Department of the Environment.Share on Facebook