In addition to fixing their drinking water woes, Montrose is embracing environmentally-sound water programs this summer.
Council agreed to devote $3,500 to hire a student under the Columbia Basin Trust’s water ambassador program.
“The regional district is taking the lead on organizing local communities to do a share program,” said administrator Kevin Chartres.
The idea is to share the student with other communities like Fruitvale and Warfield. The village would utilize the student for two days per week for three months to monitor and inform residents of their responsibility to conserve water.
According to councilor Joe Danchuk, when Kelowna residents installed water meters consumption initially declined but after a couple years it went back up again.
“The biggest user of water is underground sprinklers, so to have someone come provide a service, test your soil to see if you’re watering too much – I’d be happy to have someone say that . . . In Kelowna, they say it’s the biggest money saver they’ve had in saving water.”
The duties of the water smart ambassador would be to assess landscape and irrigation systems, audit parks, village buildings and public spaces as well as in-home water audits for residents.
Brian Teasdale, water ambassador organizer and Regional District operations manager, was unavailable for comment Friday but Montrose Mayor Griff Welsh said after speaking to him earlier in the week, they were still waiting to hear if other municipalities would join the initiative.
Montrose Village is offering a water-metering program for interested families.
The meters will be installed and monitored by maintenance staff free of charge and water usage added to residential data.
“Families with two or more children of varying ages will provide further information for future conservation initiatives,” said Chartres.
Four meters are available for interested families. Currently the village records monthly water use from various households and businesses, however the data is limited to one demographic.
Like hydro and natural gas readings, the meters require no entrance into homes.