Saturday, March 7, 2009

Water, we need Water

What’s more precious than Gold or Oil? PURE UNADULTERATED, CLEAN, REFRESHING WATER! Without water, we are not going to last too long, that’s for sure. I have always valued water and I do try to use it wisely whenever I can.

I had the chance of experiencing what it would be like to not have easy access to a clean water supply for about a day, courtesy of a water main problem occurring in my neighbourhood recently. So for about 32 hours, we had to make do with whatever water we had on hand. It wasn’t devastating nor life threatening, but it was definitely very inconvenient.

We conserved water the best we can by using a few cups of water for both cleaning and rinsing our dirty dishes. Cooking from scratch was pretty much out the door, so we decided to go out for dinner instead. The worse was not having enough water to flush our toilets with. Thankfully, we have 3 toilets at our disposal, with apparently 2 flushes left in each tank. Still, not knowing when we were gonna get our water supply restored, we went with the motto: "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down". Even then, I was the only one in our household who managed to let out number 2. No one else dared to. I hope this short period of going without a municipal supply of water will prove to be a valuable lesson for our affected neighbours and us. We must learn to CONSERVE WATER.

In fact, I’m so concerned about our water consumption that I even wrote to our councillor, with the suggestion that we increase the cost of our water rate by as much as 50%. Is that too much of a price hike? No, I don’t think so. Unfortunately, it's always having to resort to hitting consumers in the pocketbook before we can get a change in consumer behaviour. I reviewed a current water bill and noticed that our household of 4 used 50,000 Litres of water over a period of 87 days, with an Average Daily Consumption of 575 litres, or about 145 litres per person per day. The average Toronto home uses about 248 litres of water per person per day. That means our household uses about half of what the average household in Toronto uses. How do you compare? Are you using less or are you using more? Here’s a link for an overview of water use in Toronto and ways to save on water consumption.

My reasons for jacking up the Water Rate are 2-fold. Firstly, this should immediately raise revenues for the city to build up a good reserve fund for future water projects. Secondly, if this cost is too much for a household to bear, I’m more than certain that people will come up with many creative ways to CONSERVE WATER. Heck, most people I know already spend an outrageous amount on Bottled Water. Here’s a price comparison. A case of 12x 500ml of bottled water costs only $1.00. Dirt Cheap. Right? Well, that works out to be $0.16 per Litre. Guess what? Water from our taps costs only $0.0018 per Litre! Now, that’s DIRT CHEAP!!! On top of that, we don’t end up with cases and cases of used plastic water bottles, surely headed to some far-off landfill. And you know how I feel about the excessive use of plastic.

To highlight how poor our mismanagement of water usage is, I’d like to leave you with where Canadians rank when it comes to water consumption. Please click here.

In case you can’t access this website, let me tell you that Canada ranks 15th out of 16 peer countries and earns a “D” grade. Excessive water consumption in Canada can be attributed to the lack of widespread water conservation practices and water pricing that does not promote efficiency. Only the United States fared worse than Canada. Not proud, not proud at all.

This link only provides the ranking of Canada with other Developed Nations. Can you imagine how shameful we'd look if we were to compare ourselves with the rest of the world, including Emerging Nations like China and India, and all the other Poor Countries in the world?


With only a 15 minute warning and a promise that our water supply would be restored the next morning, we decided to save 2 pots and a kettle of water in case we needed it. We figured how much water could we possibly need between 9PM and 7AM?

Of course the City Workers underestimated the time they needed to repair the water main problem. So we were told that it would take at least another day to restore the water supply. With not much water on hand, we used a minimal amount of water to wash and rinse our dishes.

I started to worry that we may not have enough water to flush our toilets with so I sent Dick out to gather some snow from our backyard for that purpose.

We saved some snow for watering our plants too. As I said, when you have a limited amount of resources to use, you will come up with creative ways to solve the problem.

1 comment:

Connie said...

joan, we had that exact same problem! i ran to the mall when i needed to go to the washroom, thank gosh i had access to a metropass! i think that even though they fixed the problem (my neighbours basement flooded) the sewage close to their house overflows and doesnt take water anymore, and the whole place is full of rocks and caved-in concrete.

good to hear that you want to initiate a solution, even though the government is slow on everything and likes to add tax to everything. if my mom were to buy that house, the land transfer tax would total up to approximately 12 000!! thats like my tuition!!soo stupid that theres both a toronto land transfer tax and a provincial land transfer tax, seems like they want to keep the middle class the same or worse off! sorry if i got out of line, its the energy bars talking!