Monday, April 21, 2008

Drought in Canada

Pictured above: Georgian Bay taken while hiking in Lion's Head, Ontario

I must apologize for something stupid I wrote the other day.... "I have an endless supply of fresh water" ...I stated in this post called Living Simply vs. Simply Living. Perhaps I can be forgiven for thinking that way as I live in an area surrounded by lakes - Great Lakes to be exact. I can take a short drive south (40 minutes, 30 if I hurry) and walk out into Lake Erie, pictured below.

I can cross the border and get up close and personal with Lake Michigan, pictured above during last summer's trip to Chicago.
Or I can drive for an hour north-west and watch the sunset over my beloved Lake Huron. All fresh water, seemingly endless.

However, I am wrong....very wrong. This chart shows where the world's water supply is located and freshwater lakes account for only 0.0070% of which 20% is located in Canada.

Estimate of Where the Earth’s Water Can be Found
Oceans, saline lakes and other saltwater 97.4800 %
Icecaps/glaciers, frozen and underground freshwater 2.5100 %
Freshwater lakes 0.0070 %
Soil moisture 0.0009 %
Atmospheric water vapour 0.0009 %
Marshes and wetlands 0.0009 %
Rivers 0.0002 %
Incorporated in biota 0.0001 %
Total 100.0000 %

Approximately 60% of our fresh water drains to the north while 80% of our population lives close to the Canada/U.S. border. I sense a problem here. Also, over the past few years our prairie provinces have been experiencing drought conditions, and with the effects of global warming this situation will only worsen.

At you can calculate your water footprint with a one-minute calculator. The average Canadian uses 125,000 litres of water per year while in Europe the average per person is only 73,000 litres per year. I was a little worried but then happy (sort of) to see that I am using less than half the national average. My water footprint is about 67,292 litres per year. That number still seems unacceptably high. The challenge at this informative website is to cut your annual water useage in half.

I think I am up for the challenge but I may have to cut a foot off my daughter's hair! Tee hee. Seriously though, I think there are some things I can do to decrease my water consumption. I am going to go over all of the tips at Go Blue and I'll get back to you.


Hootin' Anni said... know I heard on the news here in America that we {USA} use more water than any other country in the world...and we were asked to use less water. I for one am all for it.

Great post.
Your prize is up now.
See y' there!!

The Brave said...

I am an aussie who lived for three years in Vancouver. It amazed me that Vancouver had summer water restrictions given the amount of rain it received for much of the year. Here in South Australia where I now live, we normally receive much less that you in the north, but we are now expereincing a major drought, with severe water restrictions year round. Our only major river - the Murray is under threat and our dams are seriously low. Considering we have so little opportunity to accumulate water - no icey mountain melt for us- the lack of water here is fightening.
Thanks for writing this, water shortages are a global issue, for those countries that are blessed with great rainfalls and water courses.

Mary said...

You use less water than I do. 77,111 is our use. I can do a couple of things to decrease my use of water: Get a front loading washer. Mine is 21 years old and was the best Energy Guide of its day back then. We also need to change the toilets in our home to ones that conserve water. We have the old regular kind. I should probably also buy a new energy efficient shower head. All of those things would cut water useage a great deal.

According to the chart if I change my habits my water useage can be cut to 32,070. That is more than half, so am starting to save for all of those things.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.