Do We Need To Conserve Water?
Conservation is simply the planned protection,
improvement, and wise use of natural resources. Water conservation
means controlling, protecting, managing and planning for the wise use of
our water resources. In Alberta, we have to look at why we want to
conserve water. Realistically, we don't have the same water
shortage problems that other parts of the world experience. Except
for agriculture, the water that most of us use is simply borrowed.
A large percentage is treated and returned to the same source from which
it came. Do we need to conserve water just because it sounds like
a good idea? Or are there other reasons that make water
conservation a realistic practical option?
Economically speaking, it makes sense. Not only do
we have to think about using our existing supplies wisely; we also have
to consider costs. Water is getting more expensive. It's
costing us more to supply, to treat, to dispose of, and to treat
again. The energy required to meet these demands is enormous and
also carries with it an environmental price tag. Just because the
water is available does not mean that we have to use it with such
reckless abandon. Studies have shown that our household water use
could be reduced by 50% without significantly changing our lifestyle.
Water conservation makes sense and it saves money for
individual families in rural and urban areas, for industries, and
communities. Consider the case of a leaking faucet in your
home. The drip is irritating but you might assume it really isn't
wasting much water. Think again. A dripping faucet leaking
one drop per second can amount to 25 litres per day and to more than 10
000 litres per year. That is enough water to wash more than 65
loads of clothing; have 140 five minute showers, or enough to wash 40
cars. Imagine one leaking faucet in every home near you and it's
easy to see why fixing a leak quickly makes sense and saves cents.
Another example is that a small toilet leak can cost you $30.00 per
month. A simple repair could save you $360.00 per year!
Reprinted from Focus On Water Conservation (1993) with permission of