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9% of metered SCRD properties use 38% of annual water: report

About 518 residences are using the most water

Nine per cent of metered properties – about 518 residences – in the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) used more than 500 cubic metres of water each last year, an SCRD report says.

According to a graph showing the 2020 residential water use of properties with meters, that’s 38 per cent of the water used by the 5,762 metered properties on an annual basis, not including commercial users, Gibsons or Sechelt.

In a verbal report to SCRD directors at a committee meeting on April 8, general manager of infrastructure services Remko Rosenboom noted that properties with leaks were included in the graph. The actual use without the leaks, he said, was still a significant percentage of the water being used by a small amount of properties. Not all properties on the Sunshine Coast have meters, so the information mostly includes properties in the rural areas.

By comparison, less than five per cent of metered residential properties use between 401 and 500 cubic metres of water. Most properties included in the graph – more than 30 per cent – use between 101 and 200 cubic metres. Slightly more than 25 per cent of properties use less than 100 cubic metres of water per year. Less than 20 per cent of properties use between 201 and 300 cubic metres.

Area A director Leonard Lee asked what the properties using the most water are using it for, but Rosenboom said staff don’t know.

“We are not peeking over the fence to see on these properties what they are actually using the water for. We have suspicions, but we don’t know. [They] are primarily large properties on the Coast,” Rosenboom said, adding that it’s most likely outdoor use, whether it’s plants, pools or “that they have 20 cars they need to wash every day, I don’t know.”

Area F director Mark Hiltz asked if letters are being sent to the properties “to let them know how out of line they are.”

Rosenboom said there are currently no dedicated efforts, citing privacy issues, but he will check with staff to see how they can make the people at those properties aware of their above average usage.

Area D director Andreas Tize agreed those people should be notified.

‘More than their fair share’

“They should be made aware that they’re using more than their fair share. It’s one thing if they’re heavy agricultural users, but if they’re just keeping their lawns green that’s a whole other thing,” Tize said.

On April 26, the SCRD will host a virtual “Let’s talk water” update on water projects and water supply for the public. It will be presented on Zoom at 6 p.m., with a question and answer period.