Tuesday, March 22, 2011
World Water Day
Today is World Water Day.
It started in 1993 to raise awareness of the importance of access to and conservation of freshwater around the world.
In the West, especially in Canada, we tend to take water for granted, assuming that we have an abundant, inexhaustible supply of safe, treated drinking water. It's easy to forget the massive amounts of water used in tar sands oil production, and the problems associated with that. Most Canadians don't live on any of the 100 First Nation communities that lack access to clean drinking water and appropriate infrastructure. Many of us don't live near pristine lakes that are slated to be turned into tailings ponds. We might not be aware of the 1 trillion plus liters of untreated sewage that gets released into our waterways every year. (Blue Gold)
According to Conference Board of Canada, the country as a whole gets a 'D' grade for water consumption compared to 16 other countries. The average individual Canadian uses over 300 liters per day. Compare that with the average person in an African country who uses 30 to 40 liters of water per day.
You can find a lot more global water statistics here.
Over the last few years I've incorporated a number of water conservation practices in my home.
My landlord recently installed a dual flush toilet in my bathroom. I usually only flush it once a day, since I've started composting my urine. When I do flush, I use the rinse water from washing dishes that I've collected in a bucket next to my kitchen sink.
I take staggered or 'navy showers'.
I always turn the tap off when I'm brushing my teeth.
I conserve water when washes dishes by keeping smaller dish buckets inside my sink and not filling them all they way up.
I only fill the kettle with the amount of water I need.
I use the appropriate water setting on the washing machine.
I never, ever buy bottled water.
I'm committed to learning and using gardening techniques that require the least amount of extra watering.
I don't put chemicals into the water by using natural cleaning products and personal care products. I avoid over the counter medications and other pharmaceuticals as much as possible. I don't use pesticides or chemical fertilizers when gardening.
And finally, because that largest amount of water use is embedded in the manufacturing process of the products we buy and the food we consume, I limit the total amount of stuff I purchase, buy second hand as much as I can and try to source my food with as much awareness as possible in terms of water consumption.
If you have any water saving tips, I'd love to hear about them!