Over the spring months during the last few years, people in southern Alberta saw lots of rain and snow and put aside their concerns about water conservation/management and thoughts of the possibility of drought was placed on the back burner.
For those in the Agriculture business, drought management and water conservation are ongoing concerns whether or not the current season is providing plenty of moisture.
Farmers and ranchers always work on their drought risk management plans to ensure they have an adequate water supply during the dry times, municipalities prepare by ensuring they have sufficient water supplies, storage, and distribution systems, and both continually work on improving their efficiencies.
In fact, producers and irrigation districts in the province saved 170-200 million cubic metres of water from 1999-2012, according to a study that will be published in the Canadian Water Resources Journal later this year.
While some of the savings can be attributed to upgrading canals and infrastructure, the bulk of the savings has come from reduced on-farm demand, such as using low-pressure pivots.
Individuals can also contribute by being more efficient with their water usage by being more conscientious with just how much water they are using and wasting and they can contribute not only when the potential for a dry spell is evident.
Reducing housebold consumption by installing water-efficient toilets, fixing leaky faucets, and watering your lawn in the evenings and mornings all help. Even better would be to xeriscape your yards; plant flora that thrive in arid and semi-arid climates and having an adequate drainage plan for the property.
There are many ways individuals, businesses, and communities can manage their water consumption and prepare for those droughts that sooner or later happen whether we want them to or not. Most of us could learn a lesson from our friends in Agriculture and develop a long-term water conservation plan for ourselves and our properties and the time to learn water conservation practices would be prior to the drought’s arrival.