It’s Day 26 of the Water Conservation Challenge and 6 more days until I can have a shower – a luxury I am much looking forward to! It seems that my buckets are conspiring against me and always putting themselves in locations in my house that are as far away as possible from where I need them – this matters a lot in a 3 storey house! I’ve spent a lot of time trudging up and down stairs with buckets. Actually, in truth this challenge has been a lot easier than I thought – and once you make the big changes such as using grey water to flush and bathing out of a bucket, it is not difficult at all to come in under 25 litres of water per day. I have about 70 litres banked right now. I could take a short shower. But I won’t – when else do you have the excuse not shower for a month? 😉
It’s funny how in different views and contexts, 25 litres can sometime seem like so much, and other times so little. For example, while waiting for my big 20 litre jug to fill in the bathtub (because it won’t fit under any other tap in my house) and then hoisting it downstairs (20 litres = roughly 20 kg or 44 lb), 20 litres of water seems like a lot! But then while walking across the Victoria Bridge the other day, I looked down upon the water, I imagined what a cube containing my 25 litres of water would look like, and figured the sides would be roughly the size of a bandana. So as I watched a bandana-shaped patch of water flow beneath me, suddenly 25 litres seemed like nothing.
A lot of people have asked me this month “Why should we conserve water? We have so much water”. This is due to the widespread Myth of Abundance of freshwater that most people in Canada still believe. Yes, Canada has 7% of the worlds freshwater, but the overwhelming majority of that water is either locked up in arctic ice, or in the Great Lakes. The water in the Great Lakes is the melt-water left over from the last Ice Age, and less than 2% of it is actually renewable water. Once it’s gone, or polluted, that’s it. Here in Saskatchewan, most of our water is locked away in northern lakes. Most of the large centres in Saskatchewan draw their water from either the North or South Saskatchewan Rivers. Both of these rivers are glacier-fed beginning in the Rocky Mountains. The glaciers that feed into the South Saskatchewan River declined in size by 50% between 1975 and 1998. If this trend continues (and it’s quite likely to), it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that we will be facing water supply problems in the future. Add to this, the fact that within Alberta, no new licences have been granted to take water from the South Saskatchewan River for several years now because the river is over-allocated, and you can start to see why it is important to start getting used to the idea of conserving water!
Enough technical talk. This has been an awesome, yet challenging, month and I’ve been thrilled with how many people have told me how much more they are thinking about their water use now, and actively finding ways to reduce their consumption. It’s not too late to pledge water – just send me a message back (Reply to me only, not Reply All please) telling me how much you think you can reduce your daily consumption by for the next 30 days and I’ll add it to the tally.
For those of you in Saskatoon, come out to the Poetry Slam at Lydias on Sunday night 8pm to hear about my water challenge in a slightly different and more entertaining format that you may be used to!
6 more days!