I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

Melting Arctic ice.......beautiful and frightening!

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

We Should Install Water Meters In Kamloops

I have the greatest respect for Anita Strong: however,  I feel she has not considered all of the ramifications of her opposition to water meters.  She wrote to the editor of the Kamloops This Week on March 5, 2010 expressing her distress at the potential installation of meters in Kamloops.  (Water meters were rejected in a referendum held in 2001. ) She asked "What is the meaning of the referendum results of the previous administration? Nothing? "  I'm wondering for what period of time  a vote should  be binding? For example, the law on slavery was voted on several times in Britain  until it was repealed - after said law  was upheld the first time. Would Ms. Strong suggest that the issue should never have been reviewed after it was upheld the first time?  Should slavery still be legal? Of course not - times change and no one approves of slavery in  2010.  The referendum rejecting water meters was held almost ten years ago - I think the zeitgeist has changed.   It is at least fair to ask the question : would the installation of water meters benefit Kamloops?

I feel it would.

The City of Kamloops states that a Kamloopsian consumes 800 liters of water per day.  800 liters!!!!!!Swedes use just  200 liters per person per day - and the average British Columbian uses just over 400 liters of water per day .  In 2004, the average Canadian used 329 liters of water per day according to the Real Estate Institute of Canada.  Using all that water has environmental impacts .  We return less water than we remove to the ecosystem - and the water returned is of a lower quality than that withdrawn. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, that bastion of environmental concern, states “high [water] consumption places stress on rivers, lakes and groundwater aquifers and may require dams and flooding with serious ecological impacts.”

And then the spectre of climate change rattles its chains. 

Historic data suggest that many parts of British Columbia are already starting to experience some of the impacts of climate change. ....Although warmer temperatures may be appealing, seemingly small changes in climate can have significant ecological, social, and economic consequences. For example, slightly warmer [winters]  have contributed to the devastating mountain pine beetle infestation in the B.C. interior. There are growing concerns about summer water shortages in the agriculturally-significant Okanagan region. The rate of global warming projected for the 21st century is much faster than observed changes during the 20th century, and likely faster than at any time during the past 10,000 years.  Rising air temperatures will reduce the amount of precipitation that falls as snow in the winter and in the mountain regions, resulting in lower river levels during the dry summer period. Higher temperatures in the summer will increase the need for water — for people, aquatic life, and irrigation in agriculture. What’s more, the increased heat will heighten the evaporation of water, leading to water loss. This will make it even harder to ensure adequate water supplies.
Kelowna began installing water meters in the middle 1990s.  Their average water consumption per capital per day has dropped to 400 liters per day since then.  The installation of water meters in Kamloops combined with educational programs would drop water consumption in Kamloops to similar levels.  Not only would that be good for the environment, it would benefit our pocketbooks. The water treatment plant cost millions: increasing its capacity would cost millions more.  Wouldn't it make more sense to use less water instead of squandering our tax dollars?

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