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OPINION: Resource too precious to waste

Water advisory from Town of Okotoks should serve as wake-up call for residents.
Lawn sprinkler
Lawn sprinkling is limited to twice a week in efforts to conserve water.

We’d be wise to heed the message, particularly given the timing of this one. 

Last Friday afternoon the Town of Okotoks advised residents that water flows in the Sheep River are currently at an 18-year low, and encouraged people to practice responsible water use, including adhering to the outdoor watering schedule. 

Water warnings are nothing new, particularly for a self-described water-challenged community like Okotoks, but to issue one in late May should serve as a wake-up call to everyone with regards to the limitations surrounding this most precious of natural resources.  

The Town’s watering schedule limits lawn sprinkling to two days a week, but you wonder when society will get to the point that vanity watering -- the use of this unpredictable resource simply to keep our grass looking green – will be frowned upon and ultimately pushed into territory reserved for single-use plastics. 

Even if grass goes brown as a result of a prolonged dry spell, it will green up once the rain starts falling again, so it’s getting harder in this day and age to justify using treated water for such a purpose. Hand watering plants makes sense but expending large amounts on the lawn just seems wasteful. 

As communities everywhere grow, the pressures on water infrastructure intensify, often necessitating prohibitively expensive upgrades that taxpayers end up covering. Now, it’s one thing to buck up for such work in order to be able to shower or clean clothes and dishes, but it’s quite another to be in that situation because we don’t want the lawn looking a little brown. 

We applaud efforts by the Town to get residents to be more water-friendly as it’s going to take a conscious effort to shift public habits in order to make a measurable difference. Water is by no means a finite resource, but nor is it infinite, and the sooner we come to that realization, the better.