As Canadians, we have a lot to be thankful for.
One example would be our nation’s abundance of freshwater.
With so much water available, the idea of water conservation may seem unnecessary and inconvenient. Or we might think that what we do to help individually is too small to make a real difference.
Individual efforts can groundswell into collective impacts, and there are 13.3 million individual households in Canada. A lot of people doing many small things suddenly adds up in a big way.
Water conservation isn’t limited to just turning off the tap when you brush your teeth. Knowing how much water is used in the production of consumer goods or understanding how water-intensive other industries are can help us make smarter decisions to conserve water.
While there are many ways you can conserve water, here are five simple steps for self-managed water sustainability that, together, have BIG impacts:
- Check for leaks – Leaky pipes, faucets or toilets not only waste water, but all the water lost is reflected in your water bill, and you didn’t even get the benefit of using it. By eliminating leaks you’ll save money and water.
- Use less energy – Water is often used as a coolant in the energy industry and is used to extract most of our fossil fuels. Reducing your energy footprint could mean turning off computers, lights or other appliances when not in use or buying energy efficient appliances. This helps save water.
- Cut out meat once a week – Vegetables and legumes require far less water to produce than pork, beef and chicken. However, if you’re not ready to make the leap to vegetarianism, try switching to protein that is less water intensive, like chicken, which requires about 2,000 litres per pound compared to beef which requires 6,800 litres. If all households across Canada cut one pound of beef from their diets, the water savings would equal 88.4 billion litres.
- Reduce food waste – It takes a lot of water to produce food. While the meat industry is the most water intensive, everything needs water. By translating food waste into water waste, we may gain a new perspective – for example, throwing away a bruised apple is like losing 70 litres of water or leaving the kitchen sink running for six minutes.
- Drink tap water – if you don’t like the taste of your water or are concerned about its quality, consider investing in a home water treatment instead of bottled water. For every one litre of packaged water sold, three litres were used in its production. Also, to make plastic you need petroleum, which requires water in its extraction process. A bonus of drinking tap water – by reducing or eliminating your use of single-use plastic, you’re helping ensure the health and beauty of our planet.
Self-managed sustainability doesn’t need to be inconvenient and we should never underestimate what a single individual can do.
Not being able to do everything should never stop us from doing something. And when it’s our water at stake, how can we refuse?
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