In 2011 the Pacific Institute, in collaboration with Google, launched a smartphone application that could help address a major water challenge: finding, supporting, and expanding the United States’s public drinking water fountains. “The average American now drinks nearly 30 gallons of commercial bottled water per year. One of the reasons for this explosive growth in the sales of bottled water is the disappearance of public drinking water fountains,” stated Peter Gleick.
Program provide residents with the tools to reduce water and energy use, save on energy and water bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated through water heating.
The most successful promotions – all of which are nothing more than gimmicks – tend to have some form of visual appeal.
Watermark – Winter 2009 – cover (360p)
Denver Water knows what it takes to get its message across in today’s media saturated world. Its ‘Use Only What You Need’ campaign is sheer brilliance.
It is fascinating when a new study or event contradicts common practice, and maybe even common sense. This article provides a few examples that might lead us to question some common water conservation practices.
Here in Canada, the idea of using reclaimed water for drinking would be a hard sell, maybe an impossible sell. Even using reclaimed water for irrigation or other purposes where high quality water isn’t necessary is not widespread in this country. Why is that?
In the summer 2005 issue of BCWWA’s “Watermark”, I mentioned a test being conducted in an upscale Kelowna neighbourhood. We included bar charts on water bills showing homeowners’ monthly consumption compared to the average monthly consumption on their street. This area was chosen because we’d tried several methods of public education in the past, but the water conservation message hadn’t gotten through.
The great fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, once said something to this effect: “Avoid developing your theory before you collect the evidence. If you develop your theory first, you may interpret the evidence to support your flawed assumptions.” I thought about this quote after talking to the person responsible for water conservation in a small town.
I came across a study by an American behavioural researcher who wanted to find out if people act more responsibly in groups or as individuals. The researcher concluded that individuals are more likely to take action when they feel some personal responsibility to help. In large groups, however, the sense of responsibility is “diffused” among the group. In other words, when there is a problem, most people expect that someone else will take care of it.
The City of Salmon Arm’s WaterWise program manager, Eugene Lalonde, can now say with certainty that “residents favour wise water use.” Findings from in-home water audits conducted during the summer of 2005 show conclusively that residents are becoming more aware of the need for water-use efficiency, and are more prepared to take the necessary steps to achieve it.