Recently, I experienced an extremely uncomfortable moment at a Social Environmental Action committee meeting. There I sat, a dedicated environmentalist, in the midst of a group of environmentalists…. this doesn’t sound like a lead in to mental anguish, does it? But while discussing water conservation, I realized (roll doom-laden Wagnerian music here) that I enjoy squandering water. I like to hose down our red brick patio and the cedar deck in the heat of the summer. Everything is so fresh and clean afterwards – literally sparkling as the sun reflects on puddles of water – and the bricks are so cool I can cross them in my bare feet without doing an imitation of a badly trained modern dancer. I discovered I’m not alone in my water wasting ways. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) says the only people piggier about water than Canadians are the Americans. And every person in my home town must use water the way I do: we use twice the water of the average Canadian.
Clinging to my delusion that this isn’t such a bad thing, I did some research. OuuuuUUUCCCHH! The OECD, that bastion of environmental concern, states “high consumption places stress on rivers, lakes and groundwater aquifers and may require dams and flooding with serious ecological impacts.” They then intone “high levels of water use require ever increasing and expensive investments in water system infrastructure.” Yup, doing what I do hits the rest of Kamloops right in the pocket book: the water treatment plant is fast approaching full capacity. Get ready to pay higher taxes and utility fees if nothing changes.