Water usage is not just about consuming one resource, it is about using numerous resources before it even gets to your home. Brad Lancaster discusses watergy, which is the interconnection between power usage and water usage. Having a concept of where our resources come from is vital to respecting and managing how we use them.
Where does your energy come from? (I ask because power uses a lot of water.)
Where I currently live in British Columbia, about 90% of BC Hydro‘s generation is produced by hydroelectric generation. Another of BC Hydro‘s energy sources is thermal generation. This involves burning fuel to produce hot gases or steam to drive gas or steam turbines that are connected to generators.
Where does your water come from?
In Abbotsford there are three sources:
– 85% of water comes from Norrish Creek (NE of Mission);
– 10% from Cannell Lake (N of Mission);
– 5% from wells in south Abbotsford.
This past summer I actually swam in the water supply up at Norrish Creek. It was the first time I really realized where our water comes from. I could see the water flowing naturally and it was humbling.
When I was in Mexico I took a tour of a Cenote, which is a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. It was breathtaking. I actually felt out of place being in such a sacred and ancient space. It will forever be a magical memory for me, yet I am horrified that such an important resource is being exploited for the tourist industry. I mean really, how many pasty white tourists slathered in perfumes and sunblock would you want wallowing in your drinking water?
Only 2.5% of the water on earth is freshwater. 68.7% of the freshwater is frozen in Glaciers and Icecaps. According to a wide-ranging new study, in the first part of the 21st century, glaciers are melting faster than at any point in the last 165 years — and possibly any point in recorded history. Does that terrify you? It should.
I recently tried to hike up to Coleman Glacier on Mt. Baker. We used old topographical maps and we were painfully aware that the ice was significantly receding like an old man’s hairline under a poorly fitted toupee. Due to the lateness of the afternoon the water in the last creek was raging to the point we did not want to cross it so we never made it to touch the ice. I have to say I am completely obsessed with feeling up a glacier and have been since I visited Glacier National Park up in Alaska via cruise ship. With Global Warming occurring there is a chance future generations will never see the beauty of the eerie blue color of the ice in person, and let me tell you photographs do not do it justice. This summer I hope to try again to make it up Heliotrope Ridge.
Too often the convenience of turning on the tap seems to wash any concept of the finite amount of fresh water we have, right down the drain.
Heck, we think we have so much fresh water that we are willing to crap in it every time we use a flush toilet. YIKES!
What can we do to save water?
A good place to start is in our homes. I found this handy home water calculator online. It offers many useful suggestions to save.
Another option is using less power. This saves a lot of water!
Don’t toss those leftovers. Food takes an extraordinary amount of water to produce, every time you toss out food whether it be leftovers or produce that is not as perky as when you bought it, you are tossing out tons of water that went into the making of that food!
Eat less meat. Beef requires 1,847 gallons of water per pound to produce. A standard showerhead uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute (gpm). That means you you take almost 74 luxurious 10 minute showers to equal the amount of water used to make one pound of hamburger.
If it is yellow let it mellow. Basically don’t flush the toilet if you go pee. A toilet on average uses 1.6 gallons of water per flush.
What else can you do?
Don’t wait until you have to make a change, make a difference now.
Even living in a temperate rainforest, we are put on watering restrictions in the Summer. What would happen to our reservoir if we took precautions to save water all year round?
Every drop counts!