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CBT challenges local governments to be more 'Water Smart'

Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) is inviting municipalities, regional districts and First Nation communities to participate in the Columbia Basin Water Smart Initiative (Water Smart) http://www.cbt.org/watersmart, which is working to establish a comprehensive approach to achieve a 20 per cent Basin-wide reduction in domestic water consumption by 2015.

"The goal of Water Smart is to develop a regional approach to water conservation by providing support and tools to Basin communities," said Kindy Gosal, CBT director, Water and Environment. "Water Smart will allow Basin communities to benefit from shared resources, expertise and learning to achieve their community specific water conservation targets."

All Basin communities are being encouraged to participate and take part in the Water Smart Network and sign the Water Smart Charter http://www.cbt.org/watersmartcharter , which demonstrates a collective commitment to Basin-wide water conservation. The Water Smart Network will connect communities and experts to learn, collaborate and share knowledge on water conservation. The Water Smart Toolkit will provide a variety of online water conservation resources to help communities develop and implement water conservation measures.

In addition, 10 Basin communities will be selected from the application process to receive one-on-one support from water conservation experts to create a Water Smart Action Plan. The action plans will identify water-use patterns, baseline inventory and targets, and provide a framework for implementation and monitoring. Each of these communities will then receive up to $5,000 in matching funding from CBT to implement their Action Plan.

All community-specific targets will contribute to the overall Basin-wide goal of a 20-per-cent reduction. It is an ambitious goal, but one that CBT sees as important.

"Water is the foundation of the social, economic and environmental well-being of the Columbia Basin and moving forward with water conservation efforts is key to ensuring a healthy and sustainable water
supply is in place for future generations," added Gosal.

CBT will be working with Urban Systems Ltd (USL), who will act as the project coordinator and deliver the program. USL brings extensive experience in water conservation, engineering, policy and planning, communication and facilitation.

"This is a great opportunity for communities and we hope community leaders will respond in great numbers," said Don Nash, USL project coordinator.

Water Smart application packages have been sent to all municipalities, regional districts and First Nations communities in the Columbia Basin and selected communities will be announced in January 2010.

For more information on Water Smart visit www.cbt.org/watersmart or contact Heather Mitchell, CBT, Manager, Water Initiatives.

CBT delivers economic, social, and environmental benefits to the residents of the Columbia Basin. To learn more about CBT programs and initiatives, visit www.cbt.org or call
1-800-505-8998.