Concerns voiced for future of water supply

Wearing high-button granny boots, lots of lace and beads, hats covered in flowers and old-fashioned shawls, the Raging Grannies brought grins and applause from their student audience at UBCO as they sang their celebration of World Water Day on Tuesday.

Wearing high-button granny boots, lots of lace and beads, hats covered in flowers and old-fashioned shawls, the Raging Grannies brought grins and applause from their student audience at UBCO as they sang their celebration of World Water Day on Tuesday.

No age barrier seemed to exist when it came to their concerns about the future of water.

Singing phrases like ‘water is life; turn off that tap; use a rain barrel for the garden; each drop is a gem; share it, don’t sell it; stop privatization; and Mother Earth is no cash cow,’ the aging grannies serenaded students and dignitaries attending the opening ceremonies for World Water Week.

Drumming on empty plastic water kegs, students marched around the campus to attract attention to water week, before the water singers sang about water; then raced around those attending, spraying water from their bottles.

The importance of water was highlighted by tie-dyed ‘water robes’ in blues and greens, created by Runaway Moon Theatre and available for people to wear, and hand-made pottery containers of water for people to hold while the opening ceremony took place.

Student booths also offered tastes of bottled water from various countries and free re-usable plastic bottles for water along with a petition calling on the university to stop throwaway plastic water bottles from being used on campus.

However, UBCO has been working to eliminate bottled water, and a Surrey company came up with a water dispensing machine where students can get their own personal, re-usable water bottles filled.

The new dispensers are now located around the campus.

The dispensers were created by SafeStar Products Company at the request of the university which is attempting to move to re-usable containers from disposable plastic bottles.

Doug Owram, deputy vice-chancellor, commented, “We try to avoid plastic bottles so they don’t enter the waste stream.”

Because the Okanagan operates on a complex system of reservoirs holding stored water, he said it’s particularly important that the university focus on water.

In speaking about Kelowna’s role in water conservation, Mayor Sharon Shepherd noted the city will become the first in Canada to implement landscape standards focussed on conserving water.

Legislation will be passed this spring putting that into effect in the city.

She also pointed to the Un-H2O Garden outside the H2O Aquatic Centre, a demonstration garden created by the Okanagan Xeriscape Association to help teach people about water-conserving landscapes.

World Water Week events in Kelowna continue with a poetry slam by Nancy Holmes’ creative writing students in the Arts Atrium at 2 p.m. today, and an exhibit on Art and Water at the FINA Gallery.

jsteeves@kelownacapnews.com