Parks and Recreation: Water, from conservation to recreation

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By Medicine Hat News Opinion on July 7, 2020.

Water is a resource that supports life on Earth and gives us the ability to landscape and recreate in areas around the world. While water flows readily from our taps, it is important to keep conservation in mind as it is finite, and we greatly depend on it. Water conservation prevents pollution, saves energy, reduces pressure on water supply, protects the environment, and can help you save money.

At-home strategies

In dry regions like in Medicine Hat, plants need significant irrigation to germinate, grow, and survive. There are many simple strategies that will help make the most of your water usage.

Irrigating in the early morning or late evening reduces water loss to evaporation, and implementing techniques like drip irrigation help deliver water directly to plant root zones. Harvesting rainwater and recycling household water help reduce water usage, and maintaining soil organic content, via mulch and compost, increases soil moisture retention. Decreasing turf area and increasing native and drought-tolerant plants will inherently decrease water usage, as these plants are naturally adapted to low-moisture conditions. With turf, mowing grass higher encourages root systems to grow deeper, making more use of soil water. When landscaping, grouping plants with similar water needs increases watering efficiency, thus making the most of your time.

Future Possibilities

Climate change has the likelihood to impact both water quality and quantity, meaning we may see increased flood and drought events as well as contamination and pollution. In the future, water may not be as readily available; conserving water now means we will be able to enjoy it for years to come.

Recreation in Medicine Hat

There are many water-related recreation opportunities in Medicine Hat that will help increase appreciation and respect for the resource, and encourage its conservation. The new dock at Connaught Pond provides easy access for fishing and paddling. The viewing docks in Kin Coulee, and the soon-to-be installed dock at Northlands Storm Pond, also provide great spaces to view local wildlife and birds. The South Saskatchewan River provides many great spots to enjoy the shade and serenity found under riparian vegetation and paddle from one end of town to the other. Its riparian areas are home to many fascinating plant and wildlife species waiting to be observed.

It is important to remember that where there is water, there is also risk. Before heading out, monitor weather and water conditions to make sure your activity is safe. Be prepared for changes in conditions, and always wear proper protective equipment, like life jackets or PFDs. For more information, check out the provincial Alberta Rivers app, or visit the River Safety page on the Medicine Hat Parks and Recreation’s website (https://www.medicinehat.ca/government/departments/parks-and-recreation/river-safety).





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