Start thinking of making your garden WaterWise now

Osoyoos couple was among 520 Okanagan residents who took the challenge to be more WaterWise, and won a yard makeover.

As people start turning off their outdoor taps and irrigation systems get blown out, the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s Okanagan WaterWise program is winding up its Make Water Work campaign for another year.

But not before announcing this year’s grand prize winner of a $6,000 WaterWise yard upgrade – Rob Abbott and Felicia Taylor of Osoyoos.

The WaterWise program aims to tackle the largest discretionary use of water in the Okanagan – 24 per cent – on outdoor residential landscaping. The program provides tips and tools to local residents to make water work best in their yards, but also encourages people to visit the Make Water Work website and pledge to conserve for a chance to be entered to win a WaterWise yard makeover.

For his pledge and water conservation efforts, the Abbotts will now be visited by KelownaGardens.com who will provide $4,000 in service with a landscape audit, plus irrigation and/or landscape improvements. Another $2,000 in materials is being provided through Bylands Nursery, ProSource Irrigation and Eco Turf Farms. All prizing has been kindly donated once again this year.

“I see water scarcity as a huge issue in the valley and my wife and I want to do what we can,” said Rob Abbott, who pledged this summer to ‘water plants. not pavement.’ And to leave grass clippings as mulch, helping feed his lawn, retain moisture and reduce evaporation.

Abbott is happy to share his other water-saving tips.  “I was also watering at night to prevent evaporation, and as minimally as possible, and was turning off the irrigation if it rained. I also hand-watered some of the plants instead of using irrigation.” And, he has taken his water conservation efforts indoors too, he added, noting the low-flow showerhead he and his wife installed a few years ago, and more.

In addition to awarding a grand prize, the community that collected the most number of pledges was crowned “Make Water Work Champions.” This year, Peachland won the honour.

“I’m really proud of Peachlanders and I applaud them for participating and fulfilling their promise to conserve,” said a very pleased Cindy Fortin, who doubles as Mayor of Peachland and OBWB director.

Indeed, Fortin made it known that she and her Mayor’s Climate Action Task Force were planning to tap into Make Water Work come spring to bring attention to climate and water issues and they were going to push for strong participation from local residents.

To find out more visit Make Water Work.