Summer is the season of water. Even if you’re not a swimmer there is something irresistible about our rivers, lakes and oceans on sunny summer afternoons.
Summer is also the season when household water use spikes. Suddenly we have lawns and gardens to water, cars to wash, swimming pools to fill.
Most of us use water with abandon (or at least take it for granted).
That is, unless you live in one of the 23 New Brunswick communities that have had boil-water advisories issued so far in 2017. Or, if you happen to enjoy swimming at Parlee Beach, or any of the popular NB lakes that have been blanketed in blue-green algal blooms over the past couple of summers.
Canadians in general take our abundance of clean water for granted and we all think we have more fresh water than we actually do which I suspect is why most of us are oblivious to the fact that this precious resource is at risk.
Although we hold seven percent off the world’s renewable freshwater (and about 20 percent of the planet’s fresh water overall) this resource is threatened every day.
Climate change is impacting our fresh water stores as glaciers melt and weather patterns change. Industry uses vast amounts of fresh water and often pollutes rivers and groundwater. And scientists (who understand best the real threat of water scarcity), believe the government is doing little to protect our fresh water from pollution, overuse and bulk exporting.
As individuals, we can all do better.
Forty-three percent of the country’s fresh water use is residential. Canadians have the second highest per capita consumption of water in the world, according to a recent Globe and Mail article.
The average Canadian uses a whopping 329 litres of water per day. Picture 658 two-litre bottles of pop stacked in your living room – that’s how much water the average Canadian family of four uses in a day. Although, basedon data from 2009, Canadian households on water metres used 73% less water than those not on metres.
We can all reduce our household water use, just by making simple changes.
Eight Ways to Use Less Water:
- Take shorter showers (5 min or less).
- Don’t leave the tap running while you brush your teeth.
- Install low flow shower heads and faucet aerators, which can cut your sink and shower water usage nearly in half.
- Choose water efficient appliances like front-loading washing machines and low flow toilets.
- Keep a jug of drinking water in the fridge rather than letting your tap run to get cold water.
- Let Mother Nature wash your car and water your lawn.
- To water your gardens or lawn, set up a rain barrel to collect rainwater.
- If you do water with a sprinkler, set it up so it isn’t watering the driveway or sidewalk. And water in the morning or evening. If you water during a sunny afternoon you lose much of the water through evaporation. (Oscillating sprinklers lose as much as 50% of what they disperse through evaporation.)
The first step in water conservation is recognizing the need to conserve. The next time you turn on the tap, remember that even for Canadians, fresh water isn’t limitless.
Want to lean more? Here’s a helpful guide to household water efficiency, published by CMHC (Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation.)