Monday, September 12, 2011

Calgary's water usage lowest in North America

Calgary is ranked the number one city in the water category in the latest U.S. and Canada Green City Index conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Compared to 26 North American cities, Calgary consumed the least amount of water and was recognized for its low water distribution leakage rate.

The report said this “reflects the city's vigilance in continually monitoring the system”. Calgary was also recognized for its high percentage of metered customers and strong wastewater management.

With Calgary’s growing population there is an increased demand on our source of drinking water. This is why it’s important for Calgarians to continue to play a key role reducing water consumption at home, which alleviates the strain on our rivers.

A trend we want to continue:
In a city of a million-plus, individual water conservation efforts can make a big difference. Here are a few water savings tips that can help save water – and money:
  • Inside: wash only full loads, install low-flow fixtures, find and fix leaky toilets, and install a water meter.
  • Outside: water the lawn in the morning with no more than an inch of water per week, and use a rain barrel to collect water for your garden.
The City of Calgary continues to take a strong leadership role in managing the quality of our Water Quality, Water Efficiency,  and Stormwater Management.

Cutting water consumption in Calgary (This is from the report: US and Canada Green City Index - Assessing the environmental performance of 27 major US and Canadian cities)

"Since 2003 Calgary has been implementing its 30-in-30 policy of reducing per capita water consumption by 30% over 30 years in order to keep total demand steady as the population grows. As part of the plan, it has made water meters mandatory. In 2010 Calgary’s water utility began installing them in 53,000 unmetered homes – out of about 280,000 total residences.

The city expects to install about 10,000 per year,finishing the project in 2014, and the impact is likely to be substantial. Local studies show that the introduction of a meter reduces the average household’s water consumption by around 60%.

Although the meters are now compulsory, the city is trying to win people over rather than use regulatory force to have them installed. In particular, it is focusing on customer service. Residents can book an installation appointment online anywhere from the next week to months in advance. They can also leave feedback and score the installation team. Between November 2010 and March 2011, the reviews all rated the service as four or five out of five. Finally, the meters even help households save money.

Installation is free and on average in 2009 metered households paid C$41.89 per month,compared with C$50 per month for those still on the flat rate."

The complete Calgary index can be found on page 39 of the report.

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