November 2, 2016
By Gilbert VandenHeuvel
The Water We Take For Granted
Canadians have consistently ranked among the world’s highest users of water, with per capita water use well above that of European and many other industrialized nations. 329 liters per person per day. Usage has slowly decreased since 2001.
We all know that we have more fresh water then most people around the world. This leads us to undervalue this precious natural resource.
I do the same thing many of us do, leave water running when we don’t need to, water our lawns just for grass, or not using a low volume flush type toilet. With all this water around why bother reduce the amount of water you use?
The first step might be to learn how much water we do use.
It just takes a minute or two to take a household water survey that tells you how much water you use and shows you where around your house you use the most water. CLICK HERE
How are we wasting water around our home? Here are a few ideas.
One the most common and least productive wastes of water is a leaky pipe. The biggest culprit is the toilet, where leaks are more common because of frequent use. You’ll usually hear it if your toilet isn’t working properly. If it runs when it’s not in use, check the valves and inner parts. A plumber will be able to spot less obvious leaks. A worn-out pipe or broken o-ring could be adding gallons to your water bill. Have your pipes examined annually to prevent more serious problems.
SMALL LAUNDRY LOADS
That new shirt you love is dirty, but you’re dying to wear it out tonight. The simple answer is to throw it in the wash whether or not you can fill an entire load. Follow this pattern too many times, however, and you’ll see your water bill start to creep up. Not only will a little laundry self-control save you money, it will also save water. Stick to a laundry schedule, and wait until you have a full load to wash. If you just need that shirt, ask your relatives or roommates if they need anything washed.
When we waste one thing, we don’t think of the possibility that we’re wasting another. Wasting food has a documented ripple effect, however, and it’s especially important for Arizona residents. NPR reports that the 1.3 billion tons of food wasted every year equates to 45 trillion gallons of water. That’s nearly a quarter of all water used for agriculture. If the world stopped wasting food, the water crisis would be over.
Do your part to make use of all resources at your disposal.
It’s a luxury that many around the world don’t have, but showers constantly contribute to our water crisis. The average 4-minute shower with an old head uses 20 gallons of water. Replace it with a low-flow shower head and you can cut that down to 10 gallons and by using a WaterSense showerhead, you could save even more. Everyone needs a long shower every now and then, but regular 20-minute sessions put an unnecessary strain on the environment.
OVERWATERING THE LAWN
In an effort to keep lawns green, some residents tend to overwater. Not only does it waste water, it can actually lessen healthy growth. If you have a stubborn brown patch, try reconfiguring your sprinkler layout rather than upping the water dosage. Learn more about how to check your irrigation system for efficiency and how to water just the right amount.
In a broader world view, water is an important and divisive issue.
Today, nearly 1 billion people in the developing world don’t have access to water.
As soon as 2025, large parts of the world could experience perrennial water shortages, says Dr. Upmanu Lall, director of the Columbia Water Center and a leading expert on hydroclimatology, climate change adaptation, and risk analysis.
Australia is the driest populated continent on earth and can yield only a limited amount of freshwater. The average annual rainfall in Australia of 469mm a year is well below the global average. Despite this, Australians are the greatest per capita consumers of water, using an average of 100,000L of freshwater per person each year. Caitlin McGee, 2013