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Water

Where can I get a drink around here?

This is a pic of an old water fountain in my old home town. One side for people and the other for horses!

20120706-155109.jpgWhy post this? Well, CBC Ottawa has put together a map showing where Ottawans can find public drinking fountains. Good to know on a hot day in July!

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Gonna be a dry summer if you live in South Ottawa

5 pm – This just came to me (I’m a bit dopier than usually today) : Didn’t the City know that this was coming down the pipe (so to speak)? If so, why are these residents hearing about this just now?

Just asking…

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Ottawa council says no lawn & garden watering, pool filling, car washing, or splash pad use in Barrhaven, Manotick, Riverside South. And this may last until August. Wow.

The ban includes:

  • Watering your lawn and garden
  • Using a splash pad
  • Filling up or topping up your pool
  • Washing your car
  • And any other outdoor use of city-supplied water

There is an old water main on Woodroffe that needs replacing and the City wants to make sure that folks in these areas have an adequate supply of water while the work is being done.

Man, I’d be really pissed if I lived down there and just put money down on a new pool!

 

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Water, water, water…

News that the City of Gatineau has banned the outdoor use of water by its residents and businesses should not come as a big surprise to anyone after the fairly dry winter we just experienced in this part of the world.

City of Gatineau spokesman Alain d’Entremont said the ban covers any external use of water, including filling pools, outdoor cleaning and watering gardens or lawns.

Homeowners caught breaking the ban face fines starting at $250, while businesses face fines beginning at $500.

D’Entremont said the city is also asking residents to curb indoor usage if possible and “take a quick shower instead of a bath.”

The city said residents used over 110 million litres of water on Tuesday alone. That number is high for this time of year but low compared to peak summer levels, when Gatineau residents use from 660 to 880 litres per person, or close to 200 million litres in total.

From B.C.

Lower-than-average snowpacks across B.C. could spell low stream flows and water shortages this summer. The situation is serious enough to have prompted the Environment Ministry to develop a 2010 Drought Response Plan.

With exception of high-elevation areas on Vancouver Island and the South Coast, snow packs across B.C. are all below normal, according to a ministry release.

Basin snow water indices show the Similkameen has 37 per cent of normal snowpack while central B.C. (Fraser, Thompson and Peace) has 80 to 90 per cent of normal.

From Alberta:

Alberta faces a water shortage, along with threats to its environment and economy, unless the province adopts better water-management policies, according to a study released Thursday by the C.D. Howe Institute.

From Ontario:

It is estimated that Canada will face a “forty percent water shortage in the next 20-30 years” said (Ontario Minister of the Environment) Garretson and the implementation of laws on water saving faucets and toilets are a very real possibility.

So people are indeed beginning to realise that our water is under threat and that there may be some direct impacts on our daily lives due to shortages.

We can, of course, lessen our individual households’ impact on the water supply by watering the non-productive domestic agricultural operations (i.e. lawns) less frequently or in the evening. Using low-flow toilets and other water-saving equipment also helps. But the biggest impact on water conservation would be if the industrial sector cut back on their water usage for their production processes – I hear that the tar sands use a, uh, few litres or more for their extraction operations…

And there there is the issue of water exports. Should we export our water in a bulk fashion… millions of litres to places like the U.S. Midwest to keep those folks from getting too thirsty? I don’t have  a problem with limited exports, but I get a little craw in my throat when I hear these American states crying for water whilst wasting millions of litres keeping their lawns green and golf courses running… gimme a break.

So what have the ReformCons done? Well, they actually have moved on this issue by tightening restrictions on bulk water exports. This is a good thing, but they should go even further and close up a loophole under the NAFTA that could make water a tradable commodity and thus exempt it from domestic restrictions. As well, the legislation may not be as tight as it could be:

Joe Cressy, campaign coordinator for the Polaris Institute, a left-leaning think tank, said the bill is based on an earlier Senate bill, “which leaves some fairly striking loopholes that allow corporations to continue exporting Canada’s freshwater.”

“It appears the bill will continue a provision that allows for up to 50,000 litres of water a day to be exported in packaged form,” Cressy said in an email. “In other words, Canada will export its water resources in the form of bottled water in daily large quantities.”

But this move is a start, and I’ll (cringe) give credit where credit is due…

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Top water wasters

Interesting piece in Scientific American on how we waste water. Everything from the washing of dishes and cars to the production of biofuels is outlined here as some of the top water wasters.

But this is my favourite one:

10. Wasting Water by Getting “Wasted”
As refreshing and cooling as that beer may taste, it’s likely to leave you less hydrated than you were before you started. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it increases the frequency of urination (but you knew that already). Alcohol suppresses an antidiuretic hormone called vasopressin that tells our kidneys to reabsorb and conserve water. The more you drink, the more the hormone level falls, and thus the more water you lose. Severe dehydration is a big reason why after a hard night out, you end up with a hangover the next day.

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