Anyone that stands on the bank of the Peace River will immediately understand the power of water. This river provides many residents with drinking water, supports a fertile river valley, and produces much of the province’s power. It would be easy to think, standing on the banks and watching the river rush by, that worrying about water shortages is unnecessary. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Climate change and shifting weather patterns mean less snow over the winter and even less rain in the spring. Talk of large scale irrigation is beginning in ernest. While we can’t change the weather, we can reduce demand on water systems to ensure we are using water as efficiently and effectively as possible.
How often do you think before turning on the tap? Those that haul water are very aware of the amount of water they use, but not all of us have this experience. According to Global News Canadians use 329 litres of water each day with toilets and showers accounting for 65% of this use. Our usage is second to only the United States and is more than double that of Europeans. While we have 20% of the fresh water in the world, we cannot afford to be complicit.
There are many temptations when it comes to water. Lush green lawns and long, hot showers are among the best of them. One of the best things we can do is resist. Grass will come back after the drought and a low flow shower head can cut your gallon per minute consumption drastically.
Water efficient toilets and low flow shower heads can make a big difference in consumption without having to remember anything! Turning taps off while washing dishes and brushing teeth also contribute. Watering gardens in the morning and a night make the most of every drop by reducing evaporation.
Rain barrels can fill in minutes during a rain and provide water for gardens for days afterwards. Cooled pots of cooking water or leftover water glasses can water houseplants or composts. Down the drain isn’t the only way to dispose of used water.
One of the most important things we can remember is that water is renewable and reusable, but it is also vulnerable: vulnerable to the demands of our lives, vulnerable to chemicals and contamination, vulnerable to our wishes and desires. Using non-toxic cleaners, lawn care products, changing oil and filling lawn equipment carefully respect the importance and fragility of the water that supports our lives.