parkdale united church

429 Parkdale Avenue, OTTAWA, Ontario K1Y 1H3

Water by Numbers

 

 

God has called upon us to be good stewards of the resources (including water) and the environment with which He has blessed us.  Water is life.  By being good stewards of water, we are also being good stewards of our other resources.  What we do (or not) with water has an obvious impact on the land and soil, as well as on our pocketbook.  What we do (or not) with water here in Ottawa could have an impact somewhere else on the Earth.  We are all one and the environment is all one.  To quote John Dohne (and later Thomas Merton), “No man is an island.”  As the “butterfly ripple effect” suggests that a flap of a butterfly’s wings in one part of the one world could cause tornadoes in another part of the world, the small actions that we take locally could have effects not only locally, but much farther away and in far more complex situations.

Here is some basic information about water and the small actions (with resulting big effects) that we can take.  Much more could be said about the water that we use than space allows.

In the Bathroom – Showers and Baths:

An average adult uses about 100 litres of water for a 5-minute shower. 

·        That is, 36,500 litres is used per year, at a cost of about $47 (based on cost of about 0.127 cents for 1 litre of water). 

·        The energy cost for this example is about $256 (based on cost to heat water at 70% hot; 30% cold water split of $0.007 per litre).

·        Total cost = $303 per year.

 

An average ‘tween or teenager takes at least one 15-minute shower each day, using 300 litres per shower.

·        That is, 109,500 litres of water is used per year, at a cost of about $139 (based on cost of about 0.127 cents for 1 litre of water). 

·        The energy cost for this example is about $767 dollars (based on cost to heat water at 70% hot; 30% cold water split of $0.007 per litre).

·        Total cost = $906 per year.

 

      What to do:      

·        Taking shorter showers and installing a low-flow shower head, at cost of $15 to $30, will help the environment and save a family of four (two adults, two tweens/teens) about $1,000 a year! 

·        Letting water run while brushing our teeth is like throwing money down the drain, so remember to turn off the tap.

·        Similarly, turn off the shower when soaping up to save even more money and the environment.

 

Laundry (Estimates based on EnerGuide standards of 392 cycles per year and 7.5 loads per week)

·        Annual water cost for a 20-year old washer                          $125

·        Annual energy cost for a 20-year old washer                                    $150

·        Annual water cost for a new Star-rated washer                   $10

·        Annual energy cost for a new Star-rated washer                 $30

 

      What to do:      

·        Consider replacing the old faithful with a Star-rated washer when it breaks down.

 

Toilets (Estimates based on a family of four each flushing four times a day and water cost of about 0.127 cents per litre).

·        A toilet manufactured before the 1980s uses up to 20 litres of water per flush, for an annual water use of 116,800 litres and a cost of approximately $148.

·        A toilet sold during the 1980s or early 1990s uses up to 13 litres per flush, for an annual water use of 77,000 litres and a cost of $96.

·        A toilet manufactured since the mid 1990s uses about 6 litres or less per flush, for an annual water use of 35,000 litres and a cost of approximately $45.

 

      What to do:      

·        Steward our water resources; help the environment by reducing up to 80,000 litres of water use (and saving up to $150 per year when a 20-litre toilet is replaced by a 6-litre one).

·        A simple modification of the toilet bowl to reduce the volume of water use will also help.

           

Outdoors (Lawns)

 

Up to 50% of the water that Canadians use outside is wasted.

 

      What to do:

·        Water lawns early in the morning or evening to avoid too much evaporation.

·        If cut grass is no lower than 3 inches, excessive evaporation is prevented, weeds are crowded out and deep roots promoted.

·        Aerate compact areas so that water can infiltrate better.

·        Use soaker hoses instead of oscillating sprinklers, as the latter can waste up to 50% of water to wind and evaporation.

·        Remember that lawns require on average about 1 inch of water once a week.

 

Leaks

 

      What to do:

Check for leaks around the house (e.g. toilets and faucets) and repair them for only a few dollars, to save possibly hundreds of dollars.

 

In closing, please accept the entire Stewardship Committee’s belated Earth Day greetings.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

David Odumodu

Member

Stewardship Committee