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article imageOld toilets flushing away Canadian water

By KJ Mullins     Jul 2, 2010 in Environment
Every year Canadians are flushing away more than 580 billion litres of water because of toilets and older appliances. The older models are not efficient when it comes to conserving water.
A report, Environmental Defence. Down the Drain: Water Conservation in the Great Lakes Basin, released today outlines how much water could be saved if residents, businesses and the government replaced older toilets and appliances in their bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms. That along with changing the way many garden would help reduce the area's water footprint.
"Surrounded by all this water, we sometimes don't appreciate all that it provides us," said Mike Layton, Deputy Outreach Director for Environmental Defence. "We need this water to survive, to power our homes, for recreation - to maintain our quality of life. We can't afford to waste it."
Replacing old toilets in Ontario and Quebec with high efficiency 6 litres per flush toilets would save 213 billion litres of water a year. That is equivalent to the annual water use of the City of Toronto.
Replacing shower heads to low-flow models could save 65 billion litres of water annually. That is equal to leaving your shower on for 12,361 years.
"It's like flushing money down the toilet while draining our rivers, lakes and wetlands," said Layton. "The savings to the municipal governments and on our water bills are alone a very compelling reason to stop wasting water, but factor in the environment and social costs of lower lake levels and there is absolutely no reason to keep behaving the way we are."
Individuals and governments can help with water conservation by fixing leaks and switching to water saving fixtures and appliances. Using new technologies to capture and reuse water could also reduce our water footprint.
According to the data in the report households could also save an estimated $180 million per year from these water savings and municipalities could defer as much as $5.5 billion in taxes from water and wastewater infrastructure expansion.
More about Toilets, Water footprint, Water conservation
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