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OTTAWA— Sierra Club Canada and the University of Victoria’s POLIS Water Sustainability Project have joined forces to launch a nation-wide water campaign called ActionH2O. The multiyear initiative aims to encourage communities across Canada to reduce their respective water footprints through a focused outreach and engagement campaign.
“We need to dispel the myth of water abundance in Canada and encourage water users to be more aware and responsible,” said Susanne Porter-Bopp, Community Water Coordinator at the POLIS Water Sustainability Project. “Water is our most precious resource, and the misconception that we have an abundance of it leads us to take it for granted.”
In fact, one in four municipalities in Canada reported water shortages between 1994 and 1999.
“We tend to think of climate change in terms of carbon emissions, but its effects will be felt primarily through water,” added Porter-Bopp, “Pumping and treating water is an energy-intensive and expensive process, so conserving water actually saves both energy and money as well.”
The goal of ActionH2O is to harness a grassroots collective effort to
develop new conservation and efficiency-based approaches to water management that are adopted by local governments in 20 cities and towns across Canada by 2011. Support will be provided to help communities identify locally relevant solutions and opportunities for action on water conservation.
“We have local groups from coast to coast on board and we are looking forward to highlighting the progress of Canadian communities that are showing leadership on water conservation,” added Celeste CÃ´tÃ©, National Water Campaigner for Sierra Club Canada, “This summer we’ll be hosting Regional Water Summits across the country that will help communities plan their campaigns around local issues. We are looking forward to working with other organizations as well. This campaign has huge potential.”
Adopting water conservation- and efficiency-oriented habits, by-laws, and building codes now is expected to free up water resources to meet the demands of projected population growth, while ensuring there is still enough to maintain local source water levels and healthy aquatic habitats.
“We should be matching the quality of water to the services it is providing us. We need to start asking ourselves: why are we using expensive, treated drinking water to flush toilets and water lawns? Other countries recycle greywater from their sinks and showers to do
these things, while we Canadians take our water for granted,” explained CÃ´tÃ©. “We waste more water per capita than any other country in the world, next to the United States.”
The average Canadian uses 328 litres of water per day, according to recent data released by Environment Canada. The RBC Blue Water Project is supporting the ActionH2O campaign.
More information and resources are available at the ActionH2O website:
National Water Campaigner
Sierra Club Canada
(o) 613.241.4611 x.233
Toll free: 1.888.810.4204 x.233
Community Water Coordinator
POLIS Water Sustainability Project