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Water Today Title July 7, 2022

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Update 2017/12/1


This story is brought to you in part by Sourceia - Eco-houses

By Ronan O'Doherty

In an attempt to help turn around poor provincial water usage rates, the city of Beaconsfield has been urging its residents to engage with it in water conservation efforts.

While Beaconsfield, a suburb on the island of Montreal with easy access to the St. Lawrence, isn't about to suffer a drought any time soon, its city officials have made a concerted effort to limit the water usage per resident by offering them water conservation kits at a deep discount.

"I have to give full credit to Hydro-Quebec," said Andrew Duffield, Beaconsfield's Director of Sustainability, "They have promoted the program since fall of 2012, and over 200 (communities) in Quebec have taken advantage of it."

Hydro Quebec started the Water and Energy Savings Products program after a 2011 Statistics Canada drinking water survey showed that Quebecers were consuming approximately 45% more water per individual that the average in Canada and 75% more than their neighbours in Ontario.

They teamed up with Solutions Ecofitt, a Quebec firm that specializes in water and energy solutions to offer the kits, which contain a tap aerator and a handheld shower head, at a cost of $10 to the end consumer.

The kits save the residents that use them around $30 in their wallet and around 40% in water consumption.

This is a huge plus for the residents of Beaconsfield.

"This was especially pertinent because residents pay for every cubic metre of water consumed." Said Duffield, "Other communities have a flat rate to a certain consumption and only over that, say 50,000 gallons, do residents pay."

The city originally bought 1000 of the unit and is hoping that its residents take advantage of the program. It's part of a larger push of theirs to make some meaningful changes when it comes to consumption.

"We had programs that were rolled out that targeted schools, our municipal pools and our day camps to reach the younger population, " Duffield said," We also had info kiosks set up at our heritage days and our greatest impact was felt through a door to door campaign where we met individually with residents and addressed their concerns one to one."

Their efforts have not gone unnoticed. Just last month, the city was awarded certificate of recognition for its various initiatives relating to conserving drinking water, as part of Réseau Environnement’s ( A Quebec affiliate of American Water Works) Municipalité Écon’eau program.

Specific actions that were looked admirably upon when awarding them the prize included their commitment to a full-network leak detection program, a consolidated effort to repair the leaks as quickly as possible, the accelerated investment for refurbishing drinking water pipes and the drinking water awareness campaign mentioned above.

"Despite the fact that this consumption user pay system has been in place for many, many years, residents are not as a whole aware of their ability to control how much they consume and also control how much they pay," said Duffield, "We felt the distribution of these kits was a good way at a very low costs to the residents."

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