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Water Conservation

The City of Nanaimo uses 30 to 75 million litres of water per day. This works out to about 400 litres per person per day in the winter and 700 litres in summer.

Over the past decade, Nanaimo's water consumption has declined almost 20%, and remains lower than both provincial and national rates.  Council set an ambitious target for further reduction of 10% per decade.  Reducing consumption helps the environment and helps delay expensive upgrades to infrastructure.

Water Conservation Strategy

The City's 2014 Water Conservation Strategy discusses existing efforts to conserve water and future planned initiatives to reduce consumption further. This will help ensure water is available for the City's needs, as well as for ecosystems that we share the resource with.

Team WaterSmart

The City partners with other water suppliers in the region in Team WaterSmart for education and outreach programs. Team WaterSmart hosts several well-attended workshops for homeowners during the year with water-saving initiatives.

Living Water Smart BC

The City's efforts directly support the Provincial Living Water Smart initiative by:

  • Its watershed protection measures, in conjunction with the forestry companies that own the watershed
  • Nanaimo' Water Conservation Strategy
  • Measuring water supplied to the City via meters at major points in the supply system
  • Expanded block rate pricing structure
  • Full cost pricing: user rates reflect the true long-term construction and operation costs
  • Water Supply Strategic Plan recognizes that water is a shared resource for drinking water, others in the region and as a fisheries necessity
  • Providing make-up flow for low summer flows in the Nanaimo River, as well as pulse releases during early fall salmon spawning
  • Weather station maintenance to track trends in the City and in the watershed, in support of watershed modelling
  • Participation with industry, First Nations, Ministry of Environment, Department of Fisheries and Oceans in the Nanaimo River Watershed Management Plan, as well as other initiatives to augment the flow of water during dry periods (e.g. Westwood Lake, Millstone River)

Conservation Tips


  • Delay regular sprinkling in the spring and you will encourage deeper rooting.
  • Water lawns in the coolest part of the day. Watering the lawn in the early morning is the ideal time because it reduces the amount of water lost to evaporation. If the morning hours are not convenient try the evening. Keep in mind that plants and grass are more vulnerable to disease and fungus growth if watered in the evening.
  • More may not be better. Watering your lawn too often could weaken your lawn.
  • Use a spring loaded nozzle shut off on your hose. Hoses can waste 20 litres or more per minute.
  • Don't worry if your grass turns brown during hot spells, grass becomes naturally dormant and will recover with a good rainfall or when the weather becomes cooler.
  • Aerate lawns and rake in compost to improve moisture retention.
  • Apply mulch around flowers, shrubs, vegetables and trees to reduce evaporation.
  • Reduce weeds in your garden and you will reduce the competition for water.
  • Pick the right sprinkler for your lawn and garden. Check to make sure it is properly operating on a regular basis.
  • Consider planting less grass. Select ground cover and shrubs that use less water. Check with your local nursery.
  • Wash your vehicle less often, use a bucket. Wet and rinse the vehicle quickly.
  • Do you know how to turn off your water in an emergency? Locate your shut off and you will be able to deal with leaks more efficiently.
  • Check for leaky toilets by putting a little food dye in the toilet tank and wait about 10 minutes to see if the color appears in the bowl. It is not uncommon to lose up to 500 litres (110 gallons) per day from a toilet leak.
  • Make good use of your dishwasher and washing machine by giving them a rest until you have a full load.
  • Treat your toilet with respect, put garbage in the garbage can.
  • Consider the cumulative effect of each 20 litre (4.4 gallon) flush. Toilets can account for 40% of the total household use. Combine that with showers and baths and the figure can reach 75% of total use.
  • Replace your shower head and toilet with low flow devices.
  • Take shorter showers. 5 minutes is enough for most people.

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