Celebrating over 40 years of water conservation efforts
by Corey Pembleton, communications volunteer
Since 1974, the residents of the Region of Waterloo have been dedicated to conserving water and increasing water efficiency; making water conservation truly ingrained in our way of life. Every drop saved is one to be celebrated, and over the past 40 years we’ve saved a lot of drops! We’d like to congratulate everyone in the region for the strong effort that’s been put in over the years making us a leader in water conservation in the country.
Year upon year we continue to surpass conservation goals, and the Water Efficiency Master Plan (WEMP) has been highly successful: during its’ first phase (1998 – 2005) the plan exceeded its’ goal and resulted in saving 8, 508m3 of water daily, or more than three Olympic – sized swimming pools of water. More impressively, this daily water saving achieved in 2011 exceeded the 2015 target of 8,146m3– showing how the continued support of Waterloo Region residents’ is truly the driving factor behind the water conservation programs’ success.
Why is water conservation so important in Waterloo Region?
Unlike other municipalities in the province, water used by residents and businesses in the region comes from underground aquifers and the Grand River, replenished by rainwater, and underground / aboveground waterways, such as the Grand River. As the region continues to thrive with increasing numbers of people and businesses being started, it puts increasing stress on these limited water resources – making water conservation crucial to maintaining our water supplies.
Water saving-success after water-saving success
Although it can be hard to directly attribute exactly where the huge successes in water saving are coming from, one thing is clear – it is all thanks to the concerted effort of residents, businesses and institutions in the region. We have had several landmarks reached thanks to these efforts.
In the early 2000’s it was suggested to cope with increasing demand, a pipeline would need to be built to one of the great lakes to bring water into the region. Thanks to our remarkable water-conserving efforts this has been deemed unnecessary (at least until the next review in 2025); an impressive feat considering how quickly the region has grown in the meantime.
Not only does water-saving come from home-use, such as people taking shorter showers, limiting outdoor water use and installing more efficient faucets and appliances, but it comes from programs led by the Region which have been whole-heartedly embraced by residents. Between 1994 and 2005 the city had replaced over 40,000 toilets with more efficient models, rain barrel distribution programs every year, education for children and adults alike and many other research, by-law and developmental updates. Amongst these, the Water Efficiency Technology program has been highly successful in helping businesses and institutions reduce their water usage in a big way, paving the path to more sustainable future.
Although water have made it a difficult year for conserving water, citizens in the region continue to pull through strong and steady with our water efficiency goals, and we all should take the time to congratulate ourselves – why not with a canoe trip down the Grand?
Take the WET Challenge!
Determine how much water people living in your home use. Take the Region of Waterloo’s WET Challenge!
If you use more than 200 litres per day for each person, you qualify for a free home visit by one of our staff.