Friday, August 10, 2007

Using less water in Vancouver

Vancouver Sun: Amid global warming's threat to our water supply -- extreme bouts of rain in winter, followed by drought in summer -- the Greater Vancouver Regional District has some good news that's easy to swallow: People are using significantly less water.

A progress report on the GVRD's drinking water management plan shows that average per-capita consumption dropped to 559 litres per day in 2006 from 728 litres in 1986. The drop is so great that the startup date for the second intake system at the Coquitlam reservoir has been delayed to 2018 or later from an estimated 2014.

Residential users typically account for about 55 per cent of the total water consumed in the region. The other 45 per cent goes to commercial, industrial, institutional and agricultural users. Stan Woods, a senior engineer in the GVRD's policy and planning department, attributes the decline in part to mandatory use of low-flow six-litre toilets in new homes. By comparison, 20-litre toilets were the standard in the region until changed by the provincial plumbing code to 13-litre models in 1995.

Other factors include a general switch to more energy-efficient and water-efficient appliances, water conservation education programs aimed at schools, the public and business, and improvements to water metering and leak-reduction programs. Lawn-sprinkling restrictions in summer are taken for granted as a conservation measure. The region is also getting denser, meaning people have less outdoor area for watering.

Despite people using less water, overall average water consumption during the 20-year period ending 2006 increased to 1.16 billion litres per day from 990,000 litres. That's due to increased population growth and expansion of the GVRD water distribution system to populous parts of Langley township.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

People are using less water, but we're still second to the United States in the world for water consumption at 329 litres per day. Residents in Europe use half as much as the average Canadian does. We're making great strides, but we can be doing a lot more.