Lets Be Clear

Canada has been dealing with some rough water issues lately, and the David Suzuki Foundation is taking note of it. Since late last week residence of Vancouver have been facing mudslides over taking their resevoirs where the city gets their water. The extremely high level of turbidity has caused an advisory for Vancouver residents to boil all of their tap water.

Water contamination is something Canada has faced in the past with over 200 different contaminations. But why? One would think that after like 80 contaminations we would be looking to the causation of this. David Boyd answers this question.

Canada’s water quality guidelines are actually voluntary. There are currently no legally enforced rules to protect our water. Mr. Boyd says the Federal government should step in and establish mandatory standards that meet or exceed those of other countries.

No really?

North Americans in so many areas have been given a horribly skewed sense of security. At a young age in geography class we’re told that 70% of the earth’s surface is covered in water, that’s a lot of water. But then we have to factor into that how much is actually drinkable. Most of it, 68.9%, is trapped up in glaciers and another 30.8% is in groundwater. That leaves us with a tiny 0.3% of our fresh water resources in lakes and rivers.

It’s only going to get worse as global warming gets worse. The Great Lakes will decline greatly and most of the water that melts from glaciers is going to go into the oceans, which isn’t drinkable. Our alternative – bottled water – isn’t so awesome either.

Health Canada’s website on bottled water reports that there’s no evidence to support this. In fact, Professor Rolf Halden of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, had this to say about water in U.S. cities. “The truth is that city water is much more highly regulated and monitored for quality. Bottled water is not. It can legally contain many things we would not tolerate in municipal drinking water.”

Not to mention it’s really expensive. Rock on water shortages in Canada. But what can we do? The solution is the same for everything – educate people. We all know that “educate people” over simplifies to the point that it hurts. Luckily, David Suzuki is a bit more optimistic than I am and offers a few ways that we can all help out a little bit, and keep track of what water supplies.

Water conservation starts at home. Here are some things you can start doing at home right now to protect our water for the future.

* Low-flow shower heads can cut your water use in the shower by more than 30%. You can also reduce your water use by installing a, low-flow toilet that uses less water.
* Household cleaners are flushed away then go through treatment facilities, but trace elements become part of the water cycle. A lot of household cleaning can be accomplished with good old white vinegar and baking soda. (Really!) For ideas visit H2Ouse.
* Shower with a friend! It saves an average of 200 liters of water and it’s lots of fun. You’ll have a helping hand scrub those parts of the back you can’t reach on your own.

Learn more:

* This blog has links to find out what’s happening with the world’s water.
* Environment Canada’s Conserve water page.
* If you want to see how much water you’re using, and aren’t afraid of giving your e-mail address to the government, check out Environment Canada’s water use calculator.

Turns out, I use a lot of water…

Your daily average water usage: 478L

Your province’s daily average: 425L
Canadian national daily average: 335L