Many of us here in British Columbia would consider ourselves very fortunate. We appear to have an abundance of water. In most parts of our province when we turn on our taps clean and safe drinking gushes out. We probably don’t stop to think about how it got there-or indeed what happens to it when it goes down the drain. In fact, we know that 25 percent of Canadians have no idea where their tap water comes from.*
So why should we care? Is there a value we can place on our water? There is not an endless supply of water – it is a finite resource. Increases in our population, the growth of industry and agriculture and the effects of climate change all place enormous pressure on our water supply. There is no such thing as “new water.” The water we use continually cycles through the environment and is reused again and again.
Residents of B.C. use an average of 490 litres per day – more than the Canadian average of 329 litres. That is over double what Europeans use!
Even though it may not be apparent to all of us, the costs, energy, and human power required to deliver water to our taps, treat it to be safe and clean and safeguard the environment, add up to billions of dollars every year in Canada.
So while there is certainly a dollar value we can place on our water, there is also the priceless value of a resource that is quite simply essential for not only our lives, but our quality of life. Maintaining a clean water supply and ensuring we return our wastewater safely back to the environment impacts each and every one of us in our daily lives.
The BC Water & Waste Association and our 4,400 members are the people who keep your water clean and safe. Together with the Province of British Columbia and many municipalities, we have officially proclaimed May 1st to 7th, 2011 “Drinking Water Week” – a time to learn more about our water, and to value and protect it.
During Drinking Water Week, and all year round, we urge you to take a moment to be thankful and appreciate our water here in B.C. and to learn what you can do to conserve and protect it. Our website www.drinkingwaterweek.org has many tips and resources, including fun activities for children – test yourself by taking our true and false quiz! Taking shorter showers, watering our lawns less often, not letting the water run while brushing our teeth, and not putting harmful substances down our toilets and drains are simple things that can make a big difference.
Daisy Foster CEO BC Water & Waste Association