Sara’s adventure with water metering, so far
DISCLAIMER: These musings are my own personal thoughts; they are NOT from the Rossland Water Stewardship Task Force, though being a member of it heavily influences the direction of my thoughts.
* * * * * * * * * *
Fifteen days ago we celebrated the installation of our water meter! Hooray!
I looked at the meter today, and that look provoked some thoughts on the value of water.
First, a confession: I grew up on a small coastal island, surrounded by water – it rained a lot, we had a small lake on our island which fed a constantly-flowing stream of cool, pure water, and we had ponds and marshes and mists. There was always an abundance of good water, absolutely free, and we all used it lavishly.
Here in Rossland, we are entirely dependent upon precipitation for our water supply. Historically, most of Rossland’s precipitation has fallen as snow, providing us with our wonderful winter playground and beautiful, sunny summers. Will climate change threaten our water supply by changing our precipitation patterns? At this point, we don’t know for sure, but we are pretty sure that things will change.
Now, back to the “value” question – why do we pay for water? First – DO we pay for water? I don’t think we pay for the water itself. We pay to have it collected and piped from far-away mountain streams, treated so that it’s safe to drink, and piped right to our homes. Let’s face it, we’d have quite a trek if we had to carry it all ourselves from those streams, and then we’d have to boil every drop we drank. I think the price we pay to be supplied with water is very reasonable, considering how essential water is, and the cost of the piping and our treatment plant. Much of the piping is old and over-due for replacement. There’s a lot of piping, and replacing it isn’t cheap.
I mentioned that I looked at the water meter this morning. Between the two of us in this household, we have used almost 6 cubic metres of water in two weeks. One cubic metre of water is 1000 liters. So we’ve each used 3000 liters of water in fifteen days. That’s 200 liters per person per day.
I think we can do better. Environment Canada estimates that on average people use about 35% of their indoor water for bathing and showering, and another 30% for flushing their toilets. That’s a whopping 65% of daily indoor water use for flushing toilets and washing ourselves.
We do have a low-flush toilet. But do I really need to have the shower (with its low-flow shower-head) running the whole time I’m sudsing and scrubbing my skin? It feels great – but maybe it’s a bit of a waste. Maybe the fish in the streams need that water more than I need to have it sluicing down my body for the entire duration of my shower. I can be less of a water-pig.
I’ll try it out for the next two weeks, and see how much difference it makes.