Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Canadians Continue to Use Water at Alarming Rates

When it comes to water conservation, Canadians appear to talk the talk, but don't walk the walk. At least that's the impression I'm left with after reading the latest Canadian Water Attitudes Study, a national opinion survey on Canadians' awareness, perceptions and habits related to freshwater.

More than eight in 10 think Canada will have a freshwater shortage problem if we do not pay attention to conservation. Yet Canadians continue to waste it at alarming rates, using five times more water per day than they think they do.

Canadians believe they use an average of 66 litres of water per day, for drinking, showering, bathing, toilet flushing, laundry and dishwashing. But actual consumption is about 329 litres per day. In fact, their water habits actually worsened in 2009. For example, the length of showers taken by Canadians increased from 2008 to 2009. Canadians rank second only to the United States in terms of highest per capita water use in the developed world. In comparison, Europeans consume less than half of the water Canadians do.

Government, and NGOs like Nature Canada, have a role to play in countering misconceptions about water. This includes the belief that Canada has an unending supply of water. While Canada holds 20 per cent of the world's fresh water supply, it holds only 6.5 per cent of the world's renewable fresh water, and much of it is locked away in our North, inaccessible, for all intents and purposes, to our cities in the South. Nearly 70% of the earth's fresh water exists in the form of glaciers and permanent snow cover. (Check out other water facts)

Another myth is that reducing water consumption will have a major impact on our lives. It's remarkably easy to reduce your daily water consumption by 38 liters a day. Those who have signed our Water Pledge are already doing it.

Some highlights from the poll:

Attitudes toward conservation

  • Ninety-five per cent of Canadians believe it is important to conserve freshwater on an ongoing basis
  • Most people (86 per cent) believe they are making reasonable efforts to conserve freshwater
    Only 30 per cent believe that corporations, businesses and industry are making reasonable efforts to conserve freshwater
  • Significantly more Canadians put effort into electricity conservation than water conservation (28 per cent versus 3 per cent)
  • Only 40 per cent of the population knows how much they pay for water each month, versus 73 per cent who know what they pay for electricity


Anonymous said...

I live in Simcoe County and at this time the Min. of Env. have allowed a garbage dump to be placed over the purest water in the world. The dump is Site 41 and no matter how many letters we write they are still pushing ahead. How can we protect this water for future generations? How can government be so stupid?

Beyazet said...

Water is a renewable resource. It comes from the sky. It goes back to the ocean and it is recycled again. It is OK to use it. Using it more efficiently is also OK. Cut the hysteria and look at what is really an issue!

Anonymous said...

If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down.
How many litres of water would be saved?

Dave Matthews said...

Every day an enormous amount of water is wasted by bringing cold water through the lines from hot water tanks. This could be remedied by allowing government sponsored subsidies for homeowners to instal instant water heaters and overall there would be a huge drop in consumption.