Our water in BC is a finite resource we need to protect-- everyday actions matter

BC Water & Waste Association aims to build awareness with Drinking Water Week May 20-26

VANCOUVER, May 16, 2013 /CNW/ - The people who keep your water clean and safe—BC Water & Waste Association — together with the Province of BC and numerous municipalities, have proclaimed May 20-26, 2013 as Drinking Water Week in British Columbia.

"Drinking Water Week is a time to celebrate and value our water as a vital and finite resource we need to conserve and protect," says Daisy Foster, CEO of the 4,700-member BC Water & Waste Association.  "We hope people will learn more about their water, including where it comes from, where it goes, and the people and processes behind it, as well as what they can do to protect it." she adds.

"People may think we have an endless supply of water here in BC and that their actions don't really make a difference but that is simply not the case," says Foster. "Increases to our population, the growth of industry and agriculture and the effects of climate change all place enormous pressure on our water supply."

She notes, "Aging infrastructure and new regulatory requirements mean many communities will need to upgrade or replace systems such as treatment facilities and pipes. Yet 86% of British Columbians do not see a need for major investment now.* Through activities such as Drinking Water Week  and our Community Water Challenge contest, we aim to build understanding and acceptance of the need for such investment, and to educate people about how changing their water habits can have a big impact."

Foster says British Columbians are making strides in reducing water consumption, but still have a way to go. "The average BC resident uses about 353 litres of water per day, down from 429 litres in previous years, but that is still more than the Canadian average of 274 litres." She adds, "Most BC residents think they use 200 litres or less per day."

"It is surprising what difference simple changes can make," says Foster. "For example, reducing your shower time to 5 minutes or less as well as installing a new water efficient showerhead adds up to big water savings. New showerheads use 5 litres per minute, whereas old ones use up to 14 litres per minute. And using a spray nozzle on your hose along with a bucket and sponge saves a lot of water when washing your car. A running hose can waste 400 litres in a single car wash! The Community Water Challenge pledges, which can be taken easily online, are a fun and easy way for people to make such changes."

Water consumption can go up by as much as 50% in the summer months. Avoiding or reducing lawn watering, or replacing lawns with shrubs and plants can greatly reduce water use.  "Driveways consisting of surfaces such as gravel or interlocking stones instead of paved surfaces are best for our water supply systems because they allow rainwater and melted snow to seep slowly into the ground. But even knowing this, 55% of British Columbians are reluctant to change their driveways to an unpaved surface," Foster notes. *

BC Water & Waste Association encourages people to go online and take the Community Water Challenge and select one or all five simple water wise pledges, and to celebrate Drinking Water Week by attending a water treatment plant tour or other community event. The pledges, educational resources such as kids' activities and a listing of community events can all be found at www.drinkingwaterweek.org

* RBC 2013 Canadian Water Attitudes Study.

Facts about our water:

  • 26% of BC residents have no idea where the water that flows out of their taps comes from.*

  • BC residents use an average of 353 litres of water per day, most think they use less than 200 litres. The average Canadian uses 274 litres per day.**

  • Only 27% of British Columbians say they don't use their toilet as a convenient garbage bin. Hair, food and dead pests are the most common items being flushed.*

  • Only four in 10 Canadians make the connection between water and electricity, understanding that it requires energy to treat and pump water.*

* RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Study, ** Ministry of the Environment,

BC Water & Waste Association (BCWWA) is a 4,700 member not-for-profit association with a mission to safeguard public health and the environment in water matters by sharing skills, knowledge, education and experience regarding water and wastewater.

For more information about Drinking Water Week or the Community Water Challenge, and to find out about events in your area, please visit www.drinkingwaterweek.org.


SOURCE: BC Water and Waste Association

For further information:

For media information or to schedule an interview, contact:

Penny Noble, Communications Specialist. Cell: 604-805-5637; email: pnoble@bcwwa.org

Alana Tees, Communications Coordinator, BC Water & Waste Association. Direct: 604-630-5348 email: atees@bcwwa.org (after May 21)

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