By Jack Lee
Water conservation is a concrete priority for Canada based on three criteria:
First, some of the regions of Canada are water-restricted due to semi-arid climatic conditions. Dry summers place these areas of the country under additional stress.
Second, other parts of the country, particularly the rural areas, often rely on groundwater as their sole source of supply. Excessive water use or withdrawals easily lower the water tables in these same areas.
And, finally, in numerous urban areas in Canada, municipal water utilities are experiencing limits on supply because of high-use, infrastructure problems -- either due to summer peak demands exceeding water system capacities or due to older sewer and water systems that are in need of upgrading or repair.
Water conservation relative to these three contexts, helps communities by applying less pressure on the existing water supply (and wastewater treatment systems). Recognizing the importance of water resources to all life and reducing the rate at which Canadians use water and/or the absolute amounts they may use, is the foundation of what resource conservation is all about. It can help the nation "stretch" its existing reserves without having to invest in more expensive sources of new supply. This "frees up" supply, either to serve the needs of future growth (in Canada’s population and/or industries) or to serve the existing population for an extended period of time.