Water Conservation and Beyond: Workshop Summary

Facilitator: Mo Tipples, SOUL

Hosted by the Mb Eco-Network Water Caucus, this day-long workshop focused on pressing water issues in Manitoba, drawing environmentally conscious individuals to discuss water as a crucial resource.

Key Insights:

  • Kevin Freedman’s ’25 Liter a Day Challenge’ (2009): Addressing Canada’s large water footprint and our role as stewards of this great resource, Freedman highlighted the stark realities of our water usage. Although Canada is surrounded by abundant water, much of it is inaccessible due to its glacial origin or northern flow, leaving us with less than perceived. Concerning statistics such as 90% of freshwater being glacial and 60% flowing north underscore the urgency in water conservation.
  • Household Consumption: Canada ranks second in per capita water consumption globally. The workshop spotlighted everyday excesses:
    • Bathrooms, notably 10-minute showers, consume 120 liters of water.
    • There are efficiency differences between dual flush (6 liters), standard toilets (13 liters), front-loading (60-80 liters), and top-loading washers (160 liters).
    • Recommendations included installing water-saving devices like aerators and low-flow showerheads. Manitoba Green Retrofit can assist with installations at competitive prices (contact: 586-5755).
  • BUILD Initiative by Shaun Loney: This training agency reduces utility costs for low-income families and educates on water efficiency, achieving significant savings and societal benefits through professional training for the underprivileged.
  • Greywater Systems by Laura Allan: While focusing on drought-impacted areas in California, Allan discussed the potential for integrating greywater systems in new housing developments in Manitoba, although local regulations must be considered.

Local Initiatives and Actions:

  • The use of rain barrels for garden watering is encouraged, with the city planning to sell these alongside composters.
  • An advocacy action is being considered to lobby for a ban on the sale of high-capacity toilets and promote a “Pay As You Save” plan for water-efficient appliances, spreading costs over property taxes.

Upcoming Opportunities:

  • The Mb Eco-Network Water Caucus is launching a pilot program for family households in the city to promote water stewardship. Interested families can contact [email protected] or call 943-0318 for participation.
  • For updates on future water-related events and educational opportunities, contact Mo Tipples ([email protected]).

Additional Resources:

  • Explore the “25 Liter Water Challenge” online for informative content on sustainable water usage.

This workshop underscored the critical need for proactive water conservation and efficient usage strategies, engaging participants in meaningful discussions and actionable insights for preserving this essential resource.