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StatsCan World Water Day Report
CANADIANS INCHING THEIR WAY TO WATER CONSERVATION
By Ronan O'Doherty
To celebrate Canada Water Week, we here at Watertoday have decided to check the latest Statistics Canada Report to see how successful Canadians are at conserving and protecting our most valuable resource.
After all, what's a celebration without spreadsheets?
Although there are libraries of laws put in place by our many levels of government, it often comes down to individual Canadians to take responsibility for doing their part.
Wastewater was the chosen theme for the United Nations World Water day, which took place last Wednesday. Water needs to be reused and reduced if we are to preserve it for future generations.
For Canadians, especially the ones that reside along our ocean sized lakes, it may seem that water is limitless, but that couldn't be further from the truth.
From 2011 to 2015 the proportion of Canadian households that have a low-volume toilet has increased from 47% to 51%. Although these toilets are hardly space age technology, they can use over a litre less per flush; a colossal difference when you factor in the over 13 million household in the country.
Where we're winning in toilets we seem to be failing in showers, however. During the same time period, we went from 63% of households having a low flow showerhead, down to 62%. Your author likes his sudsy shampoos as much as the next person but the savings, both economic and environmental, with a low flow showerhead make it a no-brainer.
Savings are becoming more relevant now that far more houses are being equipped with water meters, making citizens cognizant of how much they're using and, more relevant to those citizens pocketbooks, how much it's costing.
In 2015, 43% of households had water meters, a 4% jump from 2011, when we were floating around the 39% mark.
In Toronto, the municipality recently completed a six-year capital project to install automated water meters in every home and business.
The new meters send water use information directly to the City for billing and administration, eliminating the need for property owners or City staff to take manual readings.
As important as it may be for Canadian individuals to take responsibility for their personal conservation efforts, it should go without saying that the sentiment goes double for Canadian businesses.
In 2012, Canadian businesses spent over $850 million pollution abatement and control (end-of-pipe) of surface water. In addition to that another $364.1 million was spent on pollution prevention of surface water itself.
In September of that year the US and Canada signed an amended version of the Great Lakes Water Quality agreement. With new powers-that-be to the south of us, Canadian spending on preventing water pollution might have to multiply in order to make up for potential lax regulations from our neighbours.
So the celebration might be missing some streamers and a piņata or two but with clean water to drink at least no one will be going home sick.