Friday, December 9, 2011

We are Water Pigs!

So, I am sure a few of you saw my face book status the other day after getting my water bill and the shock wave it sent through me.

In 63 days our family went through 71 cubic meters of water.

Here's the math on that for you.

1 m3 = 1,000 litres.  

 71x1000= 71,000 litres.

71,000 / 63 = 1126 litres a day

1126 / 7 = 161 litres per person (to make me feel better if Meg and Kay are here that is 125)



Here's a visual for you.  This picture shows what a 1,000 litres looks like.  There are 62 cooler sized bottles in this picture.  In order to get to our level we'd have to add 8 more!

Peachland Water Bill

I can honestly say I almost cried.  This is an insane amount of water...insane!  Let's put that into some more perspective.  The average say 150lb person needs approximately 2.3 litres of water a day to stay properly hydrated.  So our water consumption could hydrate 489 people!  Did you read that 489 people.

Here's some more perspective.  There are 2 Billion people in this world who do not have daily access to clean drinking water.....and our family uses 489 peoples worth a time for a change.

I went looking for some statistics, just to see if we are in the "normal range".  Knowing that we have 7 people in our house, I kind of attributed the higher number to that fact.

Turns out we actually aren't that bad!

Here's a bar graph showing the average water use of people around the world.  Canada for some reason is missing but I found that in Canada the average is around 329 litres a day which would put us about 4th on this graph.

That number has actually come down, considering in reports from 1999 we were using 343.  So we as Canadians are getting a bit better.  In our house we are way below the national average...phew!

Remember that these #'s are only related to measurable amounts of water, they do not include water used from fresh water wells used by those of us lucky enough to live in the country, so that # could actually be higher.

So why do we use so much water.  Convenience, industry, we just plain take it for granted!  Not one is a good excuse.  Between 1972 and 1996 our water consumption jumped 90% from 25 million m3 to 45 million m3, but our population only grew by 33%.

So where does all this water get used.  According to Environment Canada we need 5 litres for survival, think that's a tad high since that would require us all to be 400lbs, but let's go with it.  For food prep, sanitation and bathing they say we need to average 60-80 litres.   That seems a tad high too.

So here are some more #' there are alot of them in this blog, but it helps me put it into visual perspective.

Taking a bath uses 60 litres of water
Taking a shower uses 20 litres of water per minute.
Teeth brushing with water running 10 litres
Dishwasher 15-25 litres per load
Hand washing dishes 20 litres of water per minute tap runs
Laundry Front Load Washer- 56 litres Top Load Washer 152 litres

and the big one.....Flushing the Toilet can range anywhere from 0.9 litres to 30 litres depending on the age of your toilet.

No wonder we are way above the 60-80 litres "needed" to survive.

Sooooo how can we change this use age?  Let's go room by room.


First area in our house that we have changed is the toilet flushing.  No one is allowed to flush if it's a yellow deposit.  As well knowing that we have older toilets I went on line and did some research on how to effect the amount of water used per flush.  It was actually pretty simple, it involved displacing some of the water in the toilet tank so that it doesn't fully empty/fill up each time.

Here's a great video to show you how

Be sure to watch you toilet flush so that you 1) make sure it flushes hard enough to get rid of floating deposits and 2) the placement of the bottles doesn't effect any of the mechanisms.

We displaced 3 1/2 litres in total with the bottles/containers we placed in the tank.


Everyone has been given a 5 minute time limit in the shower.  So far they've done pretty good, I've threatened to put in a timer if I need to.  Mason is the biggest culprit in the shower as he seems to think standing there for 20 minutes is just a great way to wake up.....he's had a shorter shower every day to "ease" into it.  He has until Monday to get it down to 5 mins or I will be coming in to turn it off!  I've also asked them on the weekends when they aren't heading to school (and thus can be smelly lol) to not shower.  We'll see how that goes!


This is where I think a significant portion of our water is going....and I am the problem....sigh!  I am the leave the water running kind of hand dish washing culprit.  Welllll that stopped as of the other day!  So what I did instead was this....The washing side only gets about an inch of water to start my washing going, as I rinse instead of letting that run down the drain I add it to the washing side.  This has worked out really well.  I start with the cleaner dishes and work up to the dirtier ones so that when I have the most water, it's all good.  So far I've used 3/4 of of water at the most (and that was a big dish washing moment).

This morning I also enacted another rule-had read it just last night.  Most of us insist on the dishes being rinsed off before we wash them.  Well that can use a significant amount of scrapping only has been enacted-Tristan doesn't wash the dishes very often-so he'll survive this change lol.


My kids are the worst....and I mean worst for wear a pair of pants/shirt once and they are completely contaminated and can't be worn again...Well the hammer came down on that one this week too.  If there's not a stain or smell...wear em again!  We'll see how that goes.

Also the girls especially are horrid at putting clean clothes away, so never fails I find clean clothes in the laundry to be washed.  To help eliminate this, on the weekend (shhh they don't know this yet) we are downsizing the clothing selection, as I know a few of the pieces aren't being worn because of sizing.

Hoping these changes will lessen the # of loads we do.

Sooooo have I been able to see these changes.  Yeppers I have indeed.  The City of Barrie has an application where you can see you daily water use age. It's about 2 days behind, but from when I got the bill on Wed, and got the toilet flushing changed and dish washing under control.....there has been a difference!  I can see Wed on the application and just that day alone we dropped 0.2 m3 compared to Tues.  Can't wait to be able to see Thurs and today.

So....what does your families water consumption look like??? How can you change it?

Here are some interesting water facts....enjoy

It takes _____ of water to......

2396 l to process a 1  hamburger
43 l to process 1 chicken
35 l to process a can of fruit
3780 l to make 3 1/2 l of milk
1,062,180 to process one tonne of cane sugar into white sugar
21 l to make one foot of lumber
91 l to make 1lb of plastic
7,833 l of water to make 4 new tires
147,760 l to make a new car

Water can dissolve more substances then any other liquid

Water is the only substance found on earth in all three forms (liquid, solid & gas)

A person can live 3-5 days without water depending on conditions

A birch tree gives off 265 l of water a day in evaporation.  An acre of corn gives off 151200 l

80% of the earth's surface is water, 97% of that is ocean or sea water, 2% of that is frozen

More then 25% of bottled water comes from city tap water

If all the water vapor in Earth's atmosphere fell at once, we could cover the entire earth in about 1 inch of water.

It would take our family 6 years and 4 months to use the amount of water it takes to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool.

It would take our family 7 years to use the amount of water that flows over Niagara Falls in one second.

The New York Water supply system leaks 136,080,000l of water a day!

At 1 drip per second a leaky faucet/toilet etc can use 11,340 l of water a year.

and in the TMI realm....being a cleanse day, I have now peed 5 times since waking up this am....haven't flushed I've saved our house about 30 l of flushed down the toilet water.....just thought you'd like to know :o)


Sources of facts used.