Welcome to the Wise Water Use website!
Why Use Water Wisely?
Using water wisely can help reduce your water and energy bills while helping to preserve our local water resources and help prevent many forms of pollution.
Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Much of the cost to treat drinking water is through the use of electricity. A percentage of our electricity is generated from coal, which is a significant source of air pollution and CO2 emissions. This means that every time you flush the toilet or take a shower, you are contributing to climate change. Treating sewage also requires large amounts of energy so reducing the wastewater you create can also decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
Reduced Run-off Pollution
Capturing rainfall, diverting downspouts, and using water wisely outdoors can help reduce pollution caused by run-off. Capturing rain and using it instead of treated water on lawns and gardens also reduces the need for energy-consuming treated water.
Deferred Infrastructure Costs
Reducing our water use as a community can help defer millions of dollars worth of operating and maintenance costs associated with upgrading the water and wastewater treatment plants.
Reduced Pollution Discharged into Hamilton Harbour
Nutrients are a pollution concern in Hamilton Harbour that cause excessive algae growth. Sewage treatment plants represent a considerable source of nutrient loading to the harbour. Reducing the amount of wastewater through Wise Water Use can help decrease the amount of sewage that is required to be treated.
The choices we make in our everyday lives can have positive or negative effects on water quality and the environment. Use this website and Hamilton: A Guide to Wise Water Use to make the right choices.
Water is a Precious Resource
Water is a necessity of life — not only to you and I, but to all living things. What’s more, water is constantly being re-circulated. This means that water isn’t just used, it’s re-used. The water we see and use today is the same water that was here when the dinosaurs roamed the earth.
It's Everywhere in Our Lives
Water makes up about 70% of our body weight and we each need to drink about two litres per day to help us stay healthy. Water improves the quality of our lives; it is used to produce power and manufacture goods. Water also provides ways of transporting people and products all over the world. We use water everyday at home and at work in so many ways that we often take it for granted.
How Much is There?
97% of the Earth’s water is salt water in the form of seas and oceans. Salt water cannot be used practically with our current water delivery or plumbing systems — to upgrade these systems to prevent corrosion would cost an astronomical amount. It also takes a great deal of energy (and money) to turn salt water into usable freshwater (known as desalinization) and only a select few economically wealthy nations are able to afford this.
This leaves 3% of the Earth’s water supply, of which 2% is unavailable to us. This 2% is trapped in ice at the north and south poles, in glaciers, or is located too deeply underground where it is not easily accessible.
What remains is a mere 1% of the Earth’s total water supply that is freshwater and easily available in one form or another for our use. It’s easy to see how over 6 billion people can have a great influence on this small percentage of the Earth’s water supply.
Canadian Water Use
It’s especially easy here in Canada to take freshwater for granted. We are surrounded by water in the form of oceans, lakes and rivers; water falls from the sky regularly in the form of rain and snow; we are in the Northern hemisphere and have a great quantity of frozen water in the mountains and arctic; and whenever we turn on our taps, what seems to be an endless supply of water streams out. We're told that Canada has some 9% of the world's total freshwater resources for only 30 million people — about half of one percent of the world's population. This may explain our high average daily domestic water use, as shown in the chart below.
Each Canadian uses about 335 litres per day, just indoors!
This number can double in the summer months.
It’s important to note that we are indeed blessed with more than our share of freshwater, but that doesn’t mean we can afford to waste it. It takes considerable amounts of community tax dollars to first treat the water so that we can drink it and, secondly, treat the water we’ve used so that it can be put back into the environment in a state that is as ‘clean’ as possible.
|Water is neither created nor destroyed, hence we have the Water Cycle. Water is always in one of three forms at any given time – solid (ice & snow), liquid (flowing lakes & streams), or gas (water vapour).|
It’s important to remember that water is constantly being recirculated. This means that water isn’t just used, it’s reused. Think about that next time you flush the toilet or get a glass of water to drink. Treating our water resources with care and respect — using them wisely and returning water to the environment in at least the same condition which we found it — will ensure that this cycle works for us well into the future.
Ministry of the Environment
Wise Water Use Resources
Water, No Time to Waste: A Consumer’s Guide to Water Conservation - Environment Canada
A Primer on Fresh Water - Environment Canada
Environment Canada - Water: No Time to Waste - A consumer's guide to water conservation
Ministry of the Environment and Energy
The files below are in .pdf format and require Adobe Acrobat to view them: Download Adobe Acrobat