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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Water demand management and adaptations for mountain resort communities in the Canadian Columbia Basin Lepsoe, Stephanie

Abstract

Mountain resort communities need to consider how they will adapt to the increasing demand for domestic water from a growing, often seasonal, population; and to the prospects of climate change. This investigation evaluated domestic water use in Rossland and Invermere: Two resort communities in the Columbia Basin that both face water supply concerns resulting from excessive use and increased climatic variability. The study examined historic and current water use, then developed scenarios of future domestic water demands that take into consideration possible growth and water conservation, or demand management (DM) options. Indoor and outdoor conservation strategies evaluated for domestic and tourism-related use included metering with an increasing block rate, a DM “package” of fixtures/appliances, and rainwater collection. The study does not involve an economic analysis, nor does it examine the values driving water use and consumption. It focuses on DM as it relates to potential water savings through conservation. The primary methods used involved collecting and correlating current water use and climate data, and estimating potential savings from various conservation strategies, both now and in the future. The results confirmed that when domestic consumption is isolated from other sectors, domestic per capita water consumption in both communities remains very high: The average annual consumption for Rossland was 483 litres/capita/day (lcd), while Invermere used 353 lcd. Outdoor water use during the summer resulted in an increase of 50% for Rossland and 40% for Invermere. Future water demands were modelled using scenarios for no conservation versus conservation strategies. The results showed that conservation could accommodate an extra 5,000 people in Rossland and 2,500 people in Invermere, without increasing supplies. This study reinforces the argument that, rather than searching for new water sources or expanding water storage capacity, immediately reducing water consumption is an effective option for sustainable resource use, and will lessen the effects of climate change. The research also highlights the need for better record keeping and/or data collection in four main areas: water consumption (demand) and river flows/ aquifer recharge rates (supply) at the municipal and watershed levels; tourist activity in towns that are tourism-dependent; and high altitude climate information.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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