Us­ing less wa­ter

The Compass - - OPINION -

For many in this prov­ince, the con­cept of wisely us­ing the wa­ter that runs from our taps is for­eign. Many be­lieve the sup­ply is in­ex­haustible, since our rugged land­scape is dot­ted with thou­sands of bod­ies of fresh wa­ter, large and small.

In truth, we are blessed when it comes to wa­ter. And it’s likely that most of us take this life-giv­ing re­source for for granted.

We flush our wa­ter-hun­gry toi­lets with­out a sec­ond thought, let the shower run far longer than nec­es­sary, leave our gar­den sprin­klers on overnight to over­sat­u­rate the front lawn, and wash our ve­hi­cles to a bril­liant shine as of­ten as pos­si­ble.

To say we have thirsty life­styles would be an un­der­state­ment, and it’s not hard to find mis­use and abuse. In fact, it’s well-known that most mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in this prov­ince use far more wa­ter than is nec­es­sary, ei­ther through por­ous in­fra­struc­ture or out­right waste­ful­ness.

But it’s time we learn to do more with less, and we only need to look at the sit­u­a­tion in Bay Roberts to see why.

With wa­ter lev­els at their low­est in many decades, home­own­ers and busi­nesses have been ad­vised to avoid any non-es­sen­tial use. It’s re­sulted in the clo­sure of a com­mer­cial car wash, de­layed the open­ing of the Bay Arena, and even im­pacted the train­ing prac­tices of the lo­cal fire depart­ment.

It’s all thanks to a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion, one of the dri­est sum­mers in re­cent mem­ory, and a unique three­pond sup­ply sys­tem that ob­vi­ously needs some at­ten­tion.

De­spite the fact we pay far less than most world­wide to have wa­ter de­liv­ered to our taps, it’s the lat­est proof that wa­ter is not a free good, and the more we abuse it, the more it will cost. Ac­cord­ing to En­vi­ron­ment Canada, we are sec­ond only to the United States when it comes to av­er­age daily do­mes­tic wa­ter use.

So ex­pect to hear very soon that Bay Roberts will have to in­vest sig­nif­i­cant cap­i­tal into its wa­ter sys­tem to avoid sim­i­lar short­ages in the fu­ture.

But in the mean­time, we should all make an ef­fort to use wa­ter wisely. It’s not enough to sim­ply hope for rain.

—Terry Roberts

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