Our water in BC is a finite resource - we need to value and protect it

BC Water & Waste Association launches Drinking Water Week May 1-7

VANCOUVER, April 27 /CNW/ - The people who keep your water safe and clean—BC Water & Waste Association, together with the Province of BC, have proclaimed May 1-7 Drinking Water Week in British Columbia.

"Drinking Water Week is a time to celebrate and value our water as a vital and finite resource," says Daisy Foster, CEO of the 4,400 member BC Water & Waste Association.

"Some people think we have lots of water in B.C. and there's no need to conserve it, but they couldn't be more wrong," says Foster. "There is no new water. The water we use continually cycles throughout the environment and is reused again and again. Increases to our population, the growth of industry and agriculture and the effects of climate change all place enormous pressure on our water supply."

"What people forget is even when they have a large supply of water it still costs a lot to get that water to the tap. There are infrastructure costs like treatment plants and it takes energy to pump water from treatment plants around the community," Foster notes. "And after water is used and it goes down the drain, many people forget that it has to be carried through pipes to a water treatment plant requiring more energy and expensive equipment to make sure it is clean enough to be released back into the environment."

"Twenty-five per cent of Canadians have no idea where the water that flows out of their taps comes from," says Foster. "The average British Columbian uses more water each day than the average Canadian and over double what Europeans use. Our aim with Drinking Water Week is to make people more aware of where their water comes from, where it goes when they have used it, and what they can do both to conserve it and protect the environment."

"Our water goes on quite a journey from the original source before it comes out of our taps and is safe to drink, and then is released cleanly back to the environment, and we hope people will appreciate this, as well as the human input required along the way," adds Foster.

Engagement with children is one of BC Water & Waste Association strategies to help people learn more about their water. "Awareness starts with the very young, so we have made fun and educational activities such as colouring sheets, true and false and a cross word puzzle as well as school activities that we encourage children, parents and teachers to download from our website, drinkingwaterweek.org, and we also have a Face book contest," says Foster.

Tips for conserving water and protecting water sources

  • Take shorter showers
  • Check  your toilets and faucets for leaks
  • Turn-off the water while brushing your teeth
  • Purchase water-efficient appliances
  • Install low-flow shower heads and toilets that use less water
  • Wash your car with a bucket instead of a hose
  • Use rain barrels
  • Avoid watering your lawn in the summer
  • Don't use your toilet as a waste basket
  • Don't dispose of  unused pharmaceuticals down your toilet or drains-take them back to your pharmacy
  • Check with your municipality for safe disposal of substances that can harm aquatic life, rather than pour them down your drain

Facts about our Water and Canadians' Attitudes to Water*

  • 25% of  Canadians have no idea where the water that flows out of their taps comes from
  • The average Canadian  personally uses 329 litres of water per day-twice the amount used by Europeans, but the average Canadian thinks they use only 79 litres per day
  • Canadians admit to knowingly engaging in water wasting activities such as leaving the tap running while washing dishes (44%) and hosing down their driveways (19%)
  • Canadians are more concerned with saving electricity than water: 29% of Canadians  don't know what they pay for their water, only 10%  don't know what they pay for their electricity bill
  • Canadians have not made the link between water and energy conservation. Generating energy requires a lot of water. Moving water to make it available for when and where we want it requires significant amounts of energy.

*Source:  2010 Canadian Water Attitudes Study, commissioned by RBC and Unilever Canada

BC Water & Waste Association is a not-for-profit association that provides a voice for the water and waste community within British Columbia and Yukon. Through its 4,400 members, BCWWA safeguards public health and the environment by sharing skills, knowledge, education and experience regarding water & wastewater.

For more information about drinking water week and the BCWWA, and to find out about events in your area and to download activities or enter the Face book contest, visit: www.drinkingwaterweek.org



For further information:

For media information or to schedule an interview contact:
Penny Noble, Communications Consultant: 604 805 5637 (cell) pbnoble@telus.net
Sarah Vaughan, Communications Manager, BC Water & Waste Association Direct: 604-630-0011, cell: 604-518-7244. Email: svaughan@bcwwa.org

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