Water is seldom considered when we discuss efficiency in our homes, we focus on upgrading insulation, installing new windows or a high efficiency furnace but it’s time to take notice? In recent years municipalities have started charging for residential water consumption to balance their costs. What started as a relatively small bill, hardly worth our attention is starting to get our attention. Understanding the water bill, how does your usage compare nationally, how to conserve and future technologies.
Time to take out your bill
Every municipality has a different water billing structure however there is often common features that are a great place to start understanding where your money or water is going!
Term- what is the period the billing is for, is it 30, 60 or XXX days.
Consumption or usage- This is typically expressed in gallons, liters or cubic meters.
Rate- what is the charge per unit consumed? Typically expressed in dollars.
The other thing often found on most municipal billing is previous consumption history showing that pattern of household water usage and any seasonal trends.
How do You compare?
Start by calculating out your average use per person per day, use your bill and divide total use (gallons, liters or cubic meters) by period (billing period) by number of people in the house.
The average Canadian uses an average 329 liters or 87 US gallons per person per day. The rate has been steadily dropping however Canadians use almost double the daily consumption of Europeans and only slightly lower than Americans. The average American uses 90 gallons or 340 litres.
To ensure the simplest form of human survival we need about 5 liters, a little over ONE U.S. gallon daily. To meet sanitation, food preparation, bathing needs requires 60-80 liters or 15-20 US gallons per person per day.
Where is all that H2O going?
Typically H2O enforcement is played at first by one person in the house. Before you try and sell the concept to the non-believers try these tactics!
1. Make sure your not loosing any water! Next time the entire family is going out, find the meter and make record of the reading. When you return and there is no leaking the reading should not have changed, if it did start investigating. Dripping fawcets, toilets, outdoor spiggots…find that leak.
2. Complete a consumption audit
3. Reduce consumption- Install low volume toilets, shower heads and taps. Play this like a game to reduce the monthly consumption without changing habits.
4. Change habits- Show the team what you have learned, how much North Americans consume as compared to Europeans. Explain the cost to the house-hold. Convince the team to adopt short showers and fewer baths. Explain that clothes aren’t necessarily dirty after one time use. That yellow water is not a health hazard and HOW to use a low volume toilet.
What is the future of water conservation?
As the cost of water increases and citizens become more conscious about the need to conserve new tools will appear. In the near future we will be able to monitor the consumption of water at each fixture from a single access point or have digital read outs that tell our teenage kids exactly how much that half hour hot shower cost the family, these technologies will revolutionize our water conservation efforts.