Jurisdictions doing it right: Guelph and Boston are conserving water.
As the heat continues to fill the air in North America, people will do just about anything to stay cool. Swimming pools fill up and cold showers suddenly become appealing. Even sprinklers and hoses come out to quench the thirst of lawns and gardens. Water consumption undoubtedly increases in the summer months - presenting a problem for many cities.
Unfortunately, North America does not have the best track record when it comes to water consumption not only in the summer but all year round. On average, each Canadian consumes 343 litres of water per day, falling only to Americans who consume 382 litres/day.
North Americans need to understand that water is a limited resource. Though the masses are consuming too much water there are a few exemplary cities that the rest of the continent should take note of.
With Guelph’s water supply coming from groundwater instead of surface water it takes much longer to replenish water supplies in the event of a drought.
In 2009 the city of Guelph implemented the Guelph Water Conservation and Efficiency strategy to help reduce the amount of water that residents use. The program encourages residents to minimize water use by increasing efficiency and offering economic benefits to those that comply. Guelph closely monitors how much water is available advises citizens to “use carefully,” “reduce outside use,” or “reduce and stop non-essential use.”
This program has obviously been successful as Guelph’s residents have the smallest water footprint compared to any other city in Canada. The residents are even striving to do better and trying to reduce water use by 17 litres per person.
In the 1980’s Boston faced a huge water crisis: if the city did not cut down on their water usage, they would eventually deplete all of their resources. Through this the city came up with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, which has proved to be a huge success.
The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority was responsible for improving infrastructure, such as replacing aging pipes and installing low flush toilets, as well as conduct water audits on businesses.
Even though infrastructure improvement was necessary, the most effective tool was getting the citizens of Boston on board. Boston promoted water conservation though submitting flyers, leak dye test kits, and low flow showerheads throughout the community.
Over the years Boston’s water supply has improved swimmingly. In fact, there is now controversy surrounding what to do with all the excess water in the city!
For water-saving tips that you can do in your own home, click here.