The city wants residents to cut down on their use of lake water while at the same time facing problems from the lake eroding Poplar Point.
Part of the answer for both is two applications for $30,000 each to the Okanagan Basin Water Board, applications approved by city council on Monday.
On the one hand, the city wants to use $30,000 for its new Water Smart contractor program. Since the Water Smart program began in 1998, overall water use has declined by 35 per cent.
The city's water utility is working closely with the irrigation industry and is developing a contractor program to ensure the utility's landscape and irrigation standards - endorsed by council in April 2011 - are clearly understood and followed by the industry.
The program goal is education, training and recognizing irrigation contractors who participate in a two-hour workshop in March.
They agree to submit an irrigation approval form for any new system. In return, they will be eligible for financial incentives on water conserving products such as high-efficiency sprinkler heads and advanced irrigation timers.
Other water suppliers will be invited to take part for their input and to learn more about the city's landscape and irrigation standards. The goal is 50 contractors in the first year. It is similar to a program offered by the Southern Nevada Water Authority and would be the first in Canada.
Meanwhile, Okanagan Lake - the main source of the city's water - is proving troublesome on a 635-metre section of the Poplar Point shoreline near the intersection of Poplar Point Drive and Broadway Avenue East. It is adjacent to Sutherland Bay Park and the city's largest natural area park, Knox Mountain.
"Over past decades, storm events, including wind and wave erosion from Okanagan Lake, have significantly scoured the land base, and threatened to impact both the upland parks and the adjacent roadway," parks planner Barb Davidson told council.
The Poplar Point pump station is only 1.5 kilometres to the north and the only access is the threatened Poplar Point Drive, she noted.
Restoration is estimated to cost a total of
$1 million, so it has been divided into multiple phases over several years as funding becomes available. The highest priority is the 88-metre phase one at $200,000 with construction underway last November. Phase two construction on another 60 metres for $130,000 is expected to begin next fall. Another 500 metres is estimated to cost a minimum of $700,000.
The immediate goal is deflecting waves to halt the erosion through "armouring" with rocks (rip rap) with a gravel and cobble cap. But the city also wants to increase the size of the riparian area and its biodiversity through new native plants and removal of noxious weeds currently covering 60 per cent of the shoreline, said Davidson.
The city also wants to protect the water quality as a domestic source and the aquatic environment by reducing sediments washed into the lake. Storm runoff from Poplar Point Drive will also be diverted into bioswales - shallow depressions - before it enters the lake.
Environmental approval was received from the province in February 2012.