March 22nd is World Water Day and here we celebrate Canada Water Week to coincide. Now, you may be thinking to yourself “Why Canada? We don’t have a water problem? Why would we focus on ourselves?” so let me share a few facts with you.
- Canada holds 20% of the entire planets fresh water. That’s right, 20%. The rest is spread out around the world including places that humans don’t have easy access to.
- Last year’s numbers tell us that freshwater species have declined 81%. As a point of reference, Land and Ocean populations have only dropped down 38% and 36% respectively. That’s not okay. None of that is okay.
- There are communities in Canada (hell, here in Ontario) that don’t have access to clean drinking water. We have 20% of the world’s fresh water but we have people drinking bottled water to survive? And why? Because we allowed companies to pollute said water but didn’t bother to hold them accountable for the clean up? What the actual hell?
A watermain in our town broke this morning. We’re now under a boil-water advisory. It’s been less than half a day and I’m already super over it. I nearly rinsed my hands in the sink 9065 times already. I can’t wash dishes or do laundry. I boiled a huge pot of water so they can refill their water bottles later and I set up a bowl in the sink for hand washing. I had to wipe the kids up after lunch with a wet wipe because the water I boiled was still hot. I had to change lunch plans from noodles to bagels. It’s been annoying, but nothing compared to what many people all over the world and right here in Canada go though. I CAN boil my water. That’s already a step above many. I still have water pouring from my taps. I can still flush my toilets. The fresh water sources our local animals drink from are not contaminated. These are all great things, regardless of my wet wipe situation. On a normal, regular day, I don’t have to think about all of the things I use my clean, safe, water for and that’s the truth. I wouldn’t say I take it for granted, but maybe I sometimes forget to be as grateful as I could be.
So what can we do? World Water Day is about conservation, protection, and spreading awareness. How can we do better? On a big scale? Sure. But let’s be honest, when people hear the big scale stuff they think “well, I can’t make a difference”. You can though, by focusing on the small scale stuff every day. What can you do around the house or in your neighbourhood to save/protect the water?
- A rain barrel is an excellent investment, especially if you have a garden that will need watering over the summer. You can even make your own. Instead of using clean water every time you can use your saved up rain. You can even get barrel’s with a fancy top that keeps them from becoming a mosquito house of horrors.
- A totally free thing you can do is use water from boiled foods or your shower to water your plants. There’s no need to use fresh water from the tap.
- REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE. If you’re still carrying trash around with you like some kind of chump, I don’t even know what to tell you. Are you kidding me? In grade 4 our whole school participated in this green project. Everyone was given a bottle to reuse, everyone got a checklist to take home to make sure their fam was up to snuff, and all of the classes did projects to learn about keeping our communities clean. GRADE 4! I’m not that young guys. That was a long time ago. Get on board!
- Toilet’s use a lot of water. If you have reasonable, older children who use a dignified amount of toilet paper/don’t roll said outrageous amount into a tight ball, you may consider lowering your tanks water (if it seems high). You can do this easily by placing a few heavy rocks (or a ziplock bag of small rocks/do not put them in loose!) down in the tank. This will leave less space for the water to fill back up when you flush, thus using less water. I reiterate though, if your children are toddlers, you really need the flushing power off all of the water. (*hard eye roll).
- Do you have a kiddie pool? I bet you’re already using that water for grass and plants when you empty it, but did you know that adding a cup of baking soda to the fresh water can help keep the water clean and clear for a little longer? The less you need to empty and refill, the more water you’re saving over the summer!
- Turn the tap off! I know, it’s the simplest thing. We all learned it young, yet I fail at it all of the time. The other day E gave me shit for letting it run while I brushed my teeth. She knows what’s up. If you’ve fallen into the habit leave a little post-it on the mirror until you break the habit. (Or I’ll send E over as a motivational coach. Like Nic Corette from SNL!)
- Spring cleaning is about to get underway. Do you spray your driveway or paths down with the hose? Try sweeping them down first. If they still need a rinse you’ll still be using less water trying to spray off stuck on dirt.
- Use less plastic and secure your recycling well. If you do have some plastic bags in your recycling, put them all into one bag and weigh it down with some heavier items. That way the wind doesn’t send it flying. Better yet, use re-usable bags and containers whenever possible and cut your plastic use. Plastic does not degrade and the lighter it is, the farther it travels, and eventually it ends up in our waterways. Definitely not great for the eco-systems that rely on fresh water (yeah, us included!).
A few links for your research pleasure:
I have zero affiliation with these site’s, these are just a few I came across while researching. Pinterest actually has a lot of great charts on how to save water in your home as well.
Do you have any water saving tricks or water related charities close to your heart? Please feel free to share! Hopefully we’re all taking steps towards making a cleaner future for our children and planet.