Water use gets northern exposure

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Point Roberts made the front page of the Vancouver Province newspaper under the headline “Our Water, No Restrictions.”

“Residents of the Washington state community can sprinkle lawns and wash cars with water bought from Metro Vancouver,” the article stated, while across the line in Delta and other lower mainland communities strict water restrictions limited use.

The catch, the article pointed out, is that water in Point Roberts costs four times more than it does north of the border under the contract under which the Point buys water from the Vancouver system.

According to water district manager Dan Bourks and Acadia Tucker at the Point Roberts Homegrown Coop, the cost of water on the Point is a restriction in itself, and local gardeners couldn’t afford to water at will during this dry summer.

Bourks was reading meters as the All Point Bulletin went to press to determine water use for July and August, but he said that in May and June, despite a dry spring, water use was less than it was last year. Water use is not metered in Delta, he said, so residents have no financial benefit to conserving water, making watering restrictions the means to curb use in a drought.

“No restrictions isn’t strictly true,” said water commissioner Scott Hackleman. “We’re metered and they’re not. Here we charge for the water that you use. And hitting somebody with a $1,200 water bill is far more effective than relying on neighbors to snitch. I think we’re doing a much better job of controlling water use.”

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