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ENVIRONMENT | World Ocean Day 2018

In honour of World Ocean Day, here's WHY water matters


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Friday, June 8, 2018, 7:15 AM - Given the fact that 70 per cent of the world's surface is covered in water, one would assume that every day would be "world ocean day."

But a portion of humanity squanders this precious resource, with Canadians and Americans among the worst offenders.

According to Stephen Leahy, an award-winning journalist and author of Your Carbon Footprint, The average Canadian and American uses an average of  about 350-400 litres of water per day, per person, for things like washing, bathing and preparing food.

"That's 4-5 times more than people in countries like India," Leahy tells The Weather Network.

"And that's just the direct use. It doesn't include the water in our food, or the water in our electricity." When our indirect use of water is accounted for, Leahy says it equates to about 7,500 litres of water per person, per day.

WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT HOW MUCH WATER I USE?

We need water for everything.

From brushing our teeth, to washing our clothes, to generating the electricity needed to power our homes and build our life-saving technologies.

"Without water none of us would survive for more than a day or two," Leahy says. "Without it, our planet would be like the moon."

CAPE TOWN: A TEXTBOOK WATER CRISIS

Compare the water usage of Canadians and Americans that to the people of Cape Town, South Africa, a city plagued by drought.

Residents have recently been granted a ration of 50 litres of water per day -- about the amount of water Canadians use for their daily shower.

Unprecedented dry conditions are causing the city's reservoirs to run dry, with current estimates predicting the city will completely run out of water by late April.

(READ MORE: How does a global city like Cape Town run out of water?)

WHAT CAN I DO TO CONSERVE WATER?

While the vast majority of a country's water usage -- over 70 per cent -- is reserved for agriculture and industry, individuals can make a big difference when it comes to water conservation.

Here are a few tips courtesy of Metro Vancouver's We Love Water initiative:

  • Shorten your shower by two minutes. This save 460 litres of water a month.
  • Turn off the tap when shaving or brushing your teeth.
  • Leave grass clippings on your lawn after mowing. When you leave clippings to decompose you reduce evaporation, allowing you to water your lawn less. 
  • Install a shut-off nozzle on your hose(s). The average garden hose uses about 45 litres of water per minute. Installing a shut-off nozzle ensures it only runs when it's in use.
  • Install a rainbarrel and use rain water for your garden.
  • Re-use rinsing water. Water used in the kitchen for rinsing and cooking can be used again to water house plants.
  • Load up the washing machine. An average family of four does about 300 loads of laundry per year. You can conserve water by only running full loads. A full load uses less water than two half loads.

INFOGRAPHIC: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WATER


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