The recently completed BC Water Conservation Survey conducted by the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection and the BCWWA’s Water Sustainability Committee, showed that only five percent of respondent communities utilized water reuse as part of their water management strategies. This is in contrast to many other areas of the world where water reuse is a significant component in overall water management plans. Water reclamation and reuse has been found to be a viable and effective method to conserve valuable resources, and should be given due consideration in B.C. communities.
The 2004 Water Conservation Survey conducted jointly by the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection and the BCWWA’s Water Sustainability Committee shows that almost a quarter of municipalities that responded have residential metering, and more than half are considering it. Agricultural metering is being used in about 25 percent of communities, while about 13 percent are considering it. More than 65 percent of communities have metered their ICI (industrial, commercial, institutional) connections, while more than 15 percent are considering doing so.
As evidenced in a recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection and the BCWWA’s Water Conservation Committee, leak detection is on the minds of many utility managers. Results show that 31 percent of utilities have a leak detection program in place, while 43 percent are considering one.
B.C. communities are constantly faced with issues concerning population growth, ever-increasing development, environmental impacts, water supply problems, and wastewater treatment and disposal concerns to name just a few. Current construction and development practices do not produce sustainable communities and inflict great harm on the environment. Clearly, if sustainability is our ultimate goal, we must alter our present development paradigm. Is it possible to produce a sustainable community and simultaneously satisfy the needs and desires of its residents? Many communities are finding that it is possible, indeed, even desirable to do so.
A B.C. Water Conservation Survey conducted by the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection and the BCWWA’s Water Sustainability Committee shows that 48 percent of utilities have recently upgraded their computer systems, while 19 percent are considering doing so. Not surprisingly, the main stumbling block is cost, with the majority of utilities looking for grants and funding from senior levels of government.
A 2004 Water Conservation Survey conducted by the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection and the BCWWA’s Water Sustainability Committee shows that while a significant number of utilities are considering implementing best management practices (BMPs), few are actually using them. The most commonly used BMP—establishing a metering plan to account for water use and losses—has been adopted by just under one in three utilities, although it is being considered by another 44 percent. Other BMPs being used or considered include developing a water distribution system renewal plan (30 percent are using one, 41 percent are considering using one), water conservation (27 percent, 49 percent), and cross-connection control (27 percent, 39 percent).
The 2004 Water Conservation Survey conducted by the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection and the BCWWA’s Water Sustainability Committee showed that only 18 percent of utilities are using benchmarking, while 21 percent are considering it.
As defined in Developing a Water Distribution System Renewal Plan—a best management practice created for the Ministry of Health by the BCWWA—water distribution system renewal planning (often called asset management) optimizes the life-cycle value of a utility’s physical (infrastructure) assets through effective maintenance, rehabilitation, and replacement programs.”
Developing a Water Distribution System Renewal Plan outlines two complementary approaches—top-down and bottom-up. “The top-down approach is used for strategic long-term planning of policies and programs whereas the bottom-up approach is used for short-term capital planning of projects.”
According to 2004 B.C. Water Conservation Survey results, “most utilities appear to be quite forward thinking, as evidenced by the large number that employ multiple long-term planning tools. Overall, this focus on long-term planning coincides with the large number of utilities’ implementing performance measures in the near future.”
Because we undervalue our precious water resource, we tend to overuse it and, in fact, abuse it. The apparent abundance of water is deceptive, and the capacity of our lakes and rivers – and even of the oceans – to purify the wastes we dump into them is much more limited than we once thought it was. There is a price for it: billions and billions of dollars to clean up or prevent pollution. It is becoming abundantly clear that water is not a free good. Sooner or later it presents us with a bill: the price of neglect. In many cases we pay less than the actual cost of processing and delivery. For example, irrigation water charges only recover about 10% of the actual costs of the service. The same is true, to a less extreme extent, for water costs to householders.