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local governments/CBT address water conservation

Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) is pleased to announce that 19 local governments will be participating in the Columbia Basin Water Smart Initiative (Water Smart) to address water conservation in the region.

CBT is partnering with 17 municipalities and two regional districts to embark on this ambitious initiative to reduce community water use across the Basin by 20 per cent by 2015. Communities will determine their own local water conservation target that will contribute to the overall Basin-wide target.

"Feedback from Basin residents and local governments indicated that water conservation is a priority, and is key to ensuring a healthy and sustainable water supply for future generations. The response and interest from local governments has been fantastic and we are eager to start working with communities to achieve the Basin-wide target by developing local solutions around water conservation," said Kindy Gosal, CBT Director, Water and Environment.

A Water Smart Team will provide one-on-one technical support to help communities prepare, develop and monitor a Water Smart Action Plan, and CBT will provide up to $10,000 in matching funding to support the implementation of the plans."

Local governments will sign a Water Smart Charter demonstrating their commitment to water conservation and willingness to work with CBT and other Basin communities to achieve regional water conservation goals.

"Cranbrook is excited to partner with CBT in their Water Smart Initiative. It is an important program not only for water conservation, but for the long-term sustainability of Cranbrook and the Basin," said Scott Manjak, Mayor of Cranbrook. "I believe this partnership will create new and innovative approaches to water conservation and Cranbrook is proud to be at the forefront of this effort."

The Water Smart Team will begin working with the 19 local governments in a staged approach beginning in March 2010. The participating local governments include: Castlegar, Cranbrook, Creston, Elkford, Fernie, Fruitvale, Golden, Kaslo, Montrose, Nakusp, Nelson, Radium, Salmo, Slocan, the Regional Districts of Central and East Kootenay, Sparwood, Trail and Valemount.

"Salmo is pleased to participate in CBT's Water Smart Initiative. We look forward to working with CBT to develop a program for our community that will educate our citizens on why we have to be smart in conserving our water and the costs associated with providing that water," said Ann Henderson, Mayor of Salmo.

Water conservation is a local, regional, national and global issue. Canada is the second highest per capita water user in the world, British Columbia is one of the highest per capita water users in Canada, and the Columbia Basin is one of the highest per capita users in British Columbia.

Regardless of where you live in the Basin, all residents can start to take immediate action to conserve water. Read CBT's Water Smart Fact Sheet to find out more about water conservation and how residents can become more water smart http://www.cbt.org/pdfs/CBT_WaterSmart_FactSheet.pdf.

CBT is committed to working with Basin residents to improve their understanding of and involvement in water issues. Water Smart is one of several water initiatives funded and delivered by CBT. CBT is also working in areas related to water quality, water stewardship, water governance and trans-boundary water issues. For more information on CBT's Water Initiatives, visit www.cbt.org/water.