This grant supported the development of an auditing program to assist domestic water customers in using water more efficiently, in particular water for landscape irrigation. Other communities in B.C. have initiated such programs but often offer audits to all customers. This program focussed on customers with above average summer water consumption to tackle those most likely to be in need of assistance in adjusting their irrigation practices to use water more efficiently. Staff participated in training to better understand how auditing programs have operated in other communities in B.C. This training took place over three months and involved classroom theory on irrigation management and practice audits at various homes, apartment buildings, and parks in Greater Vernon. Based on this training staff undertook further practice audits and developed an auditing procedure handbook for the program. Finally, staff developed an auditing package that was given to participants upon completion of an audit. This package included:
-A booklet offering waterwise landscaping tips as were presented during the audit process by staff.
-A personalized recommendations card highlighting the key actions determined through the audit that would reduce water consumption.
-A water nozzle for their garden hose.
Customer education through the audit process and accompanying booklet focussed on landscape planning and design using Xeriscape principles; irrigation system types and their management; identifying leaks and sprinkler malfunctions; and adjusting irrigation timers and settings based on climate and season. Customers were encouraged to contact an irrigation professional to perform a detailed assessment of an automatic or in-ground sprinkler systems as RDNO staff are not certified to do so. Training and pilot audits undertaken in 2012 helped staff better understand the audit process to prepare for the full scale implementation of the program in 2013. The experience of selecting homes to audit and establishing audit procedures was very useful in helping to establish an audit program better suited to the Greater Vernon community over choosing to implement a stock program from another jurisdiction. For view the new Landscape Irrigation Waterwise Handbook click here: GVW_Landscape_Irrigation_WaterWise_Handbook.pdf