In a recent survey conducted by RBC, close to 50 per cent of Canadians said they thought fresh water was our most important natural resource. Nine in ten Canadians thought that developing stricter rules and standards to manage water use by industry and municipalities would be the best way for Canada to protect and manage its fresh water better.
In the same study, three quarters of Canadians thought they did not live in an area that is vulnerable to flood or drought. However, this past summer, a large area of Southern Ontario was classified by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as under either Severe or Moderate drought. This was also the case in parts of BC, Alberta, and Quebec. Clearly, many Canadians are underestimating the importance of using water more efficiently.
In drought stricken California, governor Jerry Brown took water conversation to another level by setting a mandatory target of 25 per cent reduction in water use in urban areas. While Californians have saved around 22.6 per cent to date, parts of the state are still dealing with a significant drought. While still in draft format, the state’s Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life plan outlines concrete activities to reduce water use. It includes cutting down on wasted water caused by leaks in commercial and residential properties. These initiatives also call for installing leak detectors and the use of sensors that strap on to water meters to measure water flow and provide online reports.
The amount of water wasted due to leaky faucets, malfunction toilets and irrigation systems is staggering. In a month, one faucet dripping every second can waste almost 1,000 L, and a toilet running non-stop can waste 22,000 L. In total, the EPA estimates that Americans waste 3.7 trillion L per year. That’s the amount of water flowing over Niagara Falls at its peak, for two straight weeks. It’s also the equivalent of an average shower every day for six months for all 319 Million Americans.
Progressive municipalities in Canada have started to implement plans to cut back on water use and reduce the strain on existing infrastructure. The City of Guelph is Canada’s largest community that is reliant on groundwater for their water supply. They have aggressive long term targets of saving an additional 9 Million L of water per day. Guelph residents are on board with using less water – their average use is 167 L per resident per day, which is 40 L less than the Ontario average.
The next step in water conservation requires a proactive approach. Access to real time water usage data empowers homeowners with the information they need to make changes to their water use in real time. Whether it's fixing a previously undetected leak, resetting a water softener regeneration cycle to be more efficient or preventing a potential flood, Alert Labs customers have the information they need to proactively conserve more water than ever.
In the past few months, Alert Labs Flowie water sensors and Flood companion sensors have saved our customers 5 Million L of water to date. That’s the equivalent of two Olympic-sized swimming pools, and we’re just getting started.
Water is one of those things in our daily lives that we take for granted. It’s always there and available when we need it. Almost 65 per cent of our bodies are made of it and we’re constantly losing water when we sweat, go to the bathroom and breathe. We can survive around two weeks without food but only three or four days without water.
The average Canadian family of four uses about 1000 L of water every day and the average American family around 1500 L.