Drop by Drop outlines conservation strategy

Drop by Drop outlines conservation strategy

Drop by Drop: Urban Water Conservation Practices in Western Canada is a report created by the Canada West Foundation to support its goal of encouraging water conservation.

The report states that, “Our water is too important to our quality of life to take for granted; it must be treated as a valuable and irreplaceable resource in need of careful and forward-looking stewardship. Water policy—be it at the federal, provincial, or municipal level or developed by businesses and nonprofit organizations—must take a holistic view of the water system including where our water originates, where it ends up, and the water cycle’s productivity over the long-term. This holistic approach requires all areas of policy that affect water—from land use to industrial regulation—to work together in an integrated fashion to protect watersheds and water quality.

“The benefits of water conservation include:

  • preservation of the environment in general and watersheds in particular,
  • management of future risk associated with natural and manmade environmental changes,
  • cost savings including reduced municipal infrastructure spending,
  • improved water quality, and
  • more effective water crisis management.

“Drop by Drop examines municipal water conservation policy in six large western Canadian cities [Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg] and identifies a number of barriers to effective urban water conservation policy: water conservation policy threatens the revenues generated by the sale of municipal water services; because water is generally seen as an abundant resource, there is resistance to fee increases and a general lack of interest in conservation; and political leadership is lacking and water conservation is not a policy priority.

“To overcome these barriers and to improve municipal water conservation policy, the report recommends that:

  • Municipal governments should adopt and commit resources to large-scale, long-term water conservation strategies rather than rely on the limited set of tools.
  •  Municipal governments should finance water utilities in ways that do not undermine the goals of water conservation.
  • Municipal governments should commit significant levels of human resources to water conservation.
  • Municipal governments that draw water from a common watershed should work together to develop region-wide conservation strategies.
  • Governments should seek to create linkages across policy areas, integrate policies that affect watersheds, and encourage water conservation in all areas of government activity.
  • Governments should partner with other organizations to educate the public about water conservation.
  • Governments should facilitate the use of new water conservation technology.
  • Provincial governments should use urban water conservation as a foundation for encouraging industrial and agricultural conservation.

For more information about the report or to order a copy, visit www.cwf.ca and go to ‘Publications’