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Tapping Towards Solutions–Water Preservation

By Larraine Roulston:

Having enough water to meet our daily needs is something most people take for granted. From protecting our local groundwater


to protecting the oceans, we must embrace water with gratitude and work hard to develop a set of moral principles concerning our essential resource.

The average Canadian uses about 329 litres of water per day, second only to U.S. and more than twice as much as Europeans. By making small changes to water use habits, every citizen can reduce significantly the amount of water used and be pleasantly surprised at the resulting cost savings.

There are 101 steps we can take, some as simple as repairing leaks in toilets, pipes and faucets.  A leak of one drip a second wastes 10,000 litres of water per year.  Most leaks are easily fixed by changing a worn washer.  The following are just a few tips to help tap into water efficiency.


  • Install washer-free taps.
  • Adjust toilet floats to a lower water level and flush less frequently.
  • Put one hand on the tap to turn it on and off while shaving or brushing teeth.
  • Reduce shower times and install water-saving shower heads.

Kitchen & Laundry:

  • Run your washing machine and dishwasher only with a full load. Newer appliances are more water and energy efficient.
  • Water plants with leftover tea and cooled water from boiling eggs (egg water adds calcium). Dish and bath water are safe for watering gardens.

· After cooking vegetables, save the water to make a soup broth.


  • Water your lawn and garden only when necessary and avoid over-watering.   To reduce water loss by evaporation, avoid windy days, water early morning or evening, and choose a sprinkler that delivers large drops in a flat pattern rather than those that throw water into the air.
  • Use a shut-off nozzle on your garden hose.  Also, install on-off or shut-off timers on sprinklers if you will be leaving during the watering.
  • Place your sprinkler carefully so that water does not land on driveways, sidewalks or streets.
  • Avoid over-cutting lawns, as taller grass holds water better.
  • Landscape your yard with local shrubs, trees, ground covers and plants that require less watering.
  • To hold and retain water, utilize wood chips around plants, shrubs and trees.  Spread compost on your lawn and dig it into your garden.
  • To water garden plants slowly, fill a bottle with water and turn it upside down, pushing the neck into the soil.
  • Wash your car with a sponge and bucket rather than use a hose.

Water dropAs hotter days approach, our use of water increases. For past generations, collecting water in wooden rain barrels was commonplace for summer fun. Today, municipalities promote rain barrels as part of their water conservation efforts. Families with swimming pools can find water saving tips and products online. Ontario’s Glenn Lloyd, devised an inexpensive pre-filter that fits over the skimmer basket to collect particles that enter the filter system. It will reduce the backwash process by at least 50 percent, produce cleaner water, and reduce chemicals that are discharged into sewers and waterways.

It might be called a watershed moment when restaurant servers began giving customers a glass of water only upon request. You too can spark water conservation.  If you are a club member, swimmer, hotel guest, or even a golfer who is aware that the golf greens use copious amounts of water, offer your suggestions and make a big splash to help turn the tide.

Water conservation links:

100 plus ways to conserve water

Water Conservation for Swimming Pools. There is a link under North American Water Usage

Larraine authors the Pee Wee at Castle Compost series that are fun and factual. Visit www.castlecompost.com 

About Larraine Roulston

A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children's adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at www.castlecompost.com. As well, Larraine and her husband Pete have built a straw bale home and live in Ontario.

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