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Water Conservation 

The water cycle continuously revitalizes the Earth's fresh water supplies.  This supply has been constant for millions of years.  What changes, is the demand for water by an increasing world population and the accompanying industrial municipal and agricultural demands.  Currently, the world's water supply is sufficient to supply four times the Earth's existing population, if it was available in the right places at the right time.  As we all know however, it is not!

Of all the water in the world, 97.5% is salt water.  The remaining 2.5% is fresh but a significant amount is tied up in the polar ice caps.  This leaves less than 1% of the world's water supply available to meet the fresh water demands of all living things.  Some parts of the world experience floods, other parts are drought-ridden.

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Access to good quality water is not equally shared throughout the globe.  Even in Canada, which has the largest per capita water supply in the world, water shortages can be experienced.  Most Canadians live within 200 kilometres of the Canadian-American border, yet a significant portion of our water is in the northern regions of Canada.  Even in Alberta, 80% of our water supply lies in the north while 80% of the water demand comes from the southern half of our province.  Locally, as well as globally, disparity in the available water supply is a common theme that helps drive the need for conserving water.  For most of Alberta, however, there are other reasons to conserve water that are equally important.

Reprinted from Focus On Water Conservation  (1993) with permission of Alberta Environment.

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