Calgary is fortunate enough to be a city with not one, but two water supplies, the Bow and Elbow Rivers. The Elbow River Watershed covers 1,235 square kilometres while the Bow River flows from the Bow Glacier north of Lake Louise covering a watershed of 25,000 square kilometres.
“As Calgary’s population continues to grow, so does the demand on our rivers. More people means more showers and baths, more flushing, more dish washing and more laundry,” said the City’s 2012 Water Report. “Since we have a finite supply of water, we need to use it wisely to ensure we have enough to meet our future water demands.”
The City has a 30-in-30 water efficiency goal in place to accommodate Calgary’s future population growth. The goal is to have the same amount of water removed from the rivers as in 2003, reducing water consumption by 30 per cent over the next 30 years. CREB®Now is sharing some tips to help you become water wise.
1> Look for Leaks On average, Calgarians will use 237 litres of water a day in their home. One step for reducing water consumption is to search out leaks. Check faucets and showerheads for drips and if finding any, purchase a new o-ring to help prevent leaks. Within the city, crews maintain 4,800 kilometres of underground pipes. In 2012, the City’s leak detection team repaired 339 underground leaks saving an average of 17 million litres of drinking water a day.
2> Toilet Trade Toilets tend to be a bit of a water hog, and one way of helping conserve water is to place a brick in the bottom of the tank to make the water level rise while using less water to fill the tank. Another option is to participate in the City’s toilet rebate program which offers a cash incentive to replace your current commode with a low-flow model. In 2012, about 10,450 inefficient toilets were replaced with WaterSense™ toilets.
3> Kitchen Care After frying up some hamburger for taco night, the last place you want to pour your grease is down the drain. Oil and grease can stick to pipes causing clogs and a lot of headaches on your part if the water backs up and makes its way back out of your sink. Used cooking oil and grease should be poured into a heatproof container to be thrown away after it solidifies.
4> Rain Reclamation Calgarians can expect up to 4,000 litres of rainwater a month, that’s a lot of natural water that can benefit your lawn and garden if captured in a rain barrel. Green Calgary has rain barrel sales from April to August at locations across the city with 1,700 rain barrels sold in 2012. Another trick is to place a Frisbee, upside down on your lawn while watering. As soon as the Frisbee is full, you’re done. Calgary also utilizes rain gardens, which are storm water features designed to look natural and landscaped on the surface while engineered to perform underground holding, filtering and absorbing runoff from surrounding areas below the surface.
5> Nurturing Nature As well as their own initiatives, the City has entered into partnerships in order to promote and practice water conservation and preservation. Trout Unlimited Canada’s Yellow Fish Road™ program saw 725 students out and about on June 8 last year painting yellow fish and the words “Rainwater Only” on 300 storm drains in the community of Bridgeland. Another program, River Watch, encourages local youth to make the connections between the Bow River and Calgarians daily lives through treatment plant and Bow River tours.