Yellow Flags and Green Thumbs: Two Successful Social Marketing Initiatives in the Kootenays

Description: Yellow flags and green thumbs: Two successful social marketing initiatives in the Kootenays. Presenter: Neal Klassen, Masters in Environmental Education, H2Okanagan Water Conservation Ltd. Almost every water provider has some form of watering regulations, but how many are actually enforced - and do they really work? Compliance is rarely measured and enforcement is often non-existent. In 2015 the Columbia Basin Trust’s Water Smart Program initiated a watering regulation education program in seven communities across the Kootenay region. From June to August, summer students in each community patrolled neighborhoods looking for residents and businesses irrigating outside of the allowed periods. When an “offence” was observed, the student placed a bright yellow flag on the front lawn. Printed on the flag were a telephone number and a link to the local regulations. This paper examines the surprising results and some unintended consequences of the program, which suggest that 1) water regulation bylaw enforcement can be simple and inexpensive; and 2) existing water regulations may not be the best fit for a community. The students who carry out the yellow flag initiative are part of a larger Water Smart Ambassador Program, which is cost-shared between Columbia Basin Trust and participating communities. In addition to distributing lawn flags, the students provide residential irrigation system audits. By making small changes and fine-tuning irrigation schedules, the students can reduce a homeowner’s irrigation by up to 50 per cent. The presentation will demonstrate how a suite of social marketing initiatives (water audits, yellow flags, etc.) can lower peak demand, helping to reduce overall water use and extend the life of existing water supply infrastructure.

Authors: Neal Klassen

Subjects: Environment and Conservation

Tags:AC15,2015 BCWWA Annual Conference & Trade Show,AC15 presentations

Citation:Stream 2: Ensuring Water Quality & Supply

Publication Date:May 29th, 2015 Upload Date:Jun 26th, 2015

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