Conserve and protect. Those were the buzzwords echoed over and over at the water forum held last weekend. Canadians are notorious water guzzlers. We, as a nation, take our water, both the quality and the quantity, for granted. When horrific events such as the one in Walkerton, Ontario happen, they take us by surprise. Then we go back to our nonchalant ways. We continue to allow activity in our watersheds. On the Coast, we debate the devastating effect logging would have on Chapman Creek. In other parts of the province, free-range cattle roam next to the drinking water supply.
When a catastrophic flood levels homes, takes a life and forever alters another, again we wring our hands and say, "How could that happen?" And we go back to building homes on unsafe hillsides that have been denuded of trees. We ignore signs of climate change that have far-reaching effects on the amount of water worldwide. Ten per cent of the ice in Switzerland melts, and we say, "So what?"
Fortunately there are people both on and off the Coast who do care. And for the over 100 people who came to the water forum, the information shared was eye-opening.
Water expert Hans Schrier, an entertaining egghead, brought home the conservation message in spades. To practice what he preaches, Schrier decided to monitor the amount of water his toilet used each day and the amount of water he could save by switching to a low-flush model. Based on his findings of seven trips to the john each day, he estimated he could save 141 litres of water per day with a conservation toilet. Improvements in the design of low-flush toilets make them a viable alternative for every home. And we're fortunate enough to have a regional district that recognizes the value of water saved. Homeowners qualify for special deals on low-flush toilets through the SCRD. Check it out.
And that's not the only program the SCRD is, or will be, making available to make water conservation attractive.
Have you got your Gold Lawn Award yet? The new award replaces the former brown lawn kudos. Just think - you can be rewarded for forgetting to water the lawn, a win-win prospect if ever there was one.
And Jennifer Carson for the SCRD announced an exciting new program soon to be in place - a Caroma bathroom retrofit deal. A plumber will retrofit your entire bathroom for free. A low-flush toilet, water-wise taps and special showerheads - what a deal! So if showering with a friend isn't in the cards, you can still be water conscious.
This election, let's make sure our local politicians are on side to conserve and protect. There's water, water everywhere - let's keep it that way.