Lush grass will be­come a lux­ury

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - -Richard Ma­honey

Tak­ing a hot and fast shower out­doors un­der a gar­den hose is one of the few re­fresh­ing ben­e­fits of a heat wave. Wa­ter in a hose that has been baked in the sun for a day can in­deed reach a high tem­per­a­ture. But the du­ra­tion of the ex­pe­ri­ence usu­ally is short be­cause af­ter a few min­utes, the stream of warm wa­ter, in­evitably the wa­ter will turn tepid and even­tu­ally into a screa­min­duc­ing frigid tor­rent.

Ob­vi­ously, the bo­hemian prac­tice of open-air body-wash­ing is not for ev­ery­one, par­tic­u­larly those who are wary of scar­ing the neigh­bours or of wast­ing wa­ter. A run­ning hose uses 500 litres of wa­ter in an hour. We are more acutely aware of such fac­toids as an­other sum­mer of ex­treme tem­per­a­tures con­tin­ues to fry us and ev­ery­thing around us.

As th­ese lines are be­ing writ­ten, the re­gion is get­ting a much­needed rain shower, pro­vid­ing some respite from a pro­longed drought that has killed grass, stunted crops, shut down ovens and prompted bans on open-air burn­ing.

Some heat-lov­ing gar­den pro­duce is do­ing well, weight loss has been ac­cel­er­ated be­cause no­body wants to eat heavy meals and lawn­mower emis­sions have plunged be­cause lawns are crispy and brown.

Green grass is go­ing to be­come a lux­ury if we are to be sub­jected to more long and hot sum­mers in the fu­ture. Con­ser­va­tion will be­come manda­tory con­sid­er­ing that while most of Earth is cov­ered with wa­ter, only one per cent of that wa­ter is ac­tu­ally drink­able.

The phrase “waste not, want not“is a key theme when it comes to wa­ter con­ser­va­tion. Cana­di­ans and Amer­i­cans use an av­er­age of 300 litres of wa­ter per day; we are the largest wa­ter con­sumers

in the world.

Next time you look at your wa­ter bill, re­mem­ber that less than three per cent of the wa­ter that is treated for mu­nic­i­pal use is ac­tu­ally con­sumed as drink­ing wa­ter. So where are you us­ing the re­main­ing 97 per cent?

Most goes down the drain; 75 per cent of in­door home wa­ter use oc­curs in bath­rooms. Toi­lets and show­ers use more wa­ter than needed to do the job. Lawn and gar­den wa­ter­ing in­creases de­mand for wa­ter by 50 per cent.

Note that wa­ter­ing thor­oughly once a week in early morning or evening is more ef­fec­tive than wa­ter­ing daily.

Im­press friends and co­work­ers with this tid­bit: One lawn sprin­kler spray­ing 19 litres per minute uses 50 per cent more wa­ter than 10 toi­let flushes, two five-minute show­ers, two dish­washer loads, and a full load of laun­dry com­bined.

All of the wa­ter on earth is re­cy­cled. How­ever, the sup­ply is fi­nite.

Coun­try folk know this all too well, be­cause most of them rely on wells. Con­trol­ling wa­ter use around a ru­ral prop­erty helps en­sure that well wa­ter is al­ways avail­able. A con­ser­va­tive ap­proach to wa­ter use also re­duces the amount of wa­ter flow­ing into sep­tic sys­tems, pre­vent­ing sys­tem over­load.

For mu­nic­i­pal wa­ter users, the in­cen­tive to con­serve is of­ten driven by cost. If a com­mu­nity can re­duce its wa­ter con­sump­tion, it can save on ex­pen­sive in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment which re­sults in lower wa­ter bills and/or taxes.

Ev­ery­one must be wa­ter smart. But if you ab­so­lutely want to lux­u­ri­ate in a fast out­door shower, do it in the gar­den.

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