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How much water are you flushing down the drain? More than anyone else in the world if you live in B.C.
Are you drinking your tap water? You should be
Where do we use the most water in the home?
Schreier: In the toilet, where one third of the day’s water, 27 to 32 per cent is used. About 19 to 25 per cent is used in the shower and bath, 16 to 19 per cent in running faucets, 14 to 22 per cent in the clothes washer, a whopping 12 to 16 per cent is wasted from leaks, and two per cent is [used] in the dishwasher.
How does B.C. compare in its water use?
Schreier: Our daily indoor water use is third-highest in Canada: British Columbians use 350 litres per person, per day. New Brunswick and Quebec residents use more (400 to 425 litres). Canada is second-highest for consumption, using just slightly less than Americans. Europeans use about 150 litres per day, half of what Canadians use.
What can be done to ensure that we conserve water?
Isn’t bottled water safer?
Schreier: City water is classified under health regulations whereas bottled water is under food regulations. Under health regulations, city water has to be tested (and reported) daily for pathogens, nitrates and other chemicals, arsenic and heavy metals. Under food regulations, bottled water has to be tested and nutritional information reported once per year.
Bottled water does not have to disclose where it comes from (for example, Everest brand is from Texas; Yosemite brand is from Los Angeles municipal water). It doesn’t have to disclose what treatment is used, when and what testing is done, or list on the bottle (in Canada) chemicals such as nitrates, chloride, sulphates and fluoride.
As soon as bottled water is open or water cooler dispensers are used, bacteria from hands, cups or breathing can get into water from the spout, which becomes a perfect incubation ground. B.C.’s city water is very well filtered; the latest system in North Vancouver will have multi-barriers including treatment filtration, UV treatment, and chlorination (certain bacteria can survive chlorination but not UV rays).
We pay 63 cents for 1,000 litres of tap water in B.C. and $1.50 for half a litre of bottled water.
Originally published in BC Home magazine. For monthly updates, subscribe to the free BC Home e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the bi-monthly magazine.