After our freezing winter it was a relief to see that we’re expecting a good warm summer. In fact Environment Canada is forecasting above normal temperatures in much of southern New Brunswick. But it seems that our precipitation will be a bit below normal, or “near normal” as Environment Canada puts it.
The forecast got me thinking about water conservation and what a warm sunny summer might mean to our water supply.
Whether you’re on municipal water or on a well, water conservation through the summer should be top of mind for everyone, especially since we all use more water during the summer months. And on average we use a lot of water.
It’s estimated that we need about 50 litres of water per person per day (including water for cooking).
According to a 2009 Environment Canada water use survey, New Brunswickers use, on average, 394 litres per person per day. It’s on a par with Newfoundland and Labrador but significantly higher than other provinces. It seems we’re a little frivolous with our water, but less so when we have to pay for our consumption. The per capita water consumption in communities with water metres was 60% lower than in communities without water metres.
Whether you’re on a water metre or not there are all sorts of easy ways to conserve water, in the yard and in the house.
10 ways to Conserve water at home:
- Let Mother Nature water your lawn. Or if you can’t resist the sprinkler water your lawn only during the coolest times of the day so you limit water loss through evaporation, and be sure to position sprinklers carefully so you’re not watering the driveway. Keep in mind that oscillating sprinklers can lose up to 50% of their water through evaporation.
- Don’t let the hose run, use a squeeze pistol on your hose instead.
- Don’t mow your grass too low. Keeping your lawn a little taller helps it retain moisture.
- Use a rain barrel under a downspout to capture rain water for your watering needs. They’re getting popular again so are easy to find at hardware stores.
- In the house, install a low flow shower head (can cut your shower water use in half) and keep your showers to under five minutes.
- Install aerators on your faucets (they can cut sink water use by up to 50%).
- In the kitchen, use your dishwasher but only run it when it’s full. A dishwasher is a more efficient use of water than sink washing. For things that need to be washed by hand fill the sink just halfway.
- Don’t leave the tap running while you brush your teeth and turn it off while you’re washing your hands too.
- Keep a jug of drinking water in the fridge rather than letting your tap run to get cold water.
- Choose water efficient appliances like front-loading washing machines and low flow toilets.
Water conservation will become a habit if you’re mindful of your water use each day and treat water like the precious resource that it is.