The total amount of water used in Calgary continues to stay below 2003 levels despite 120,000 new Calgarians being connected to the city’s water system since that time.

According to the latest Year End Water Efficiency Report, Calgary is still on track to meet its 30-in-30 Water Efficiency Plan goal-reducing water consumption by 30 per cent over 30 years.

Nancy Stalker, Community and Customer Initiatives, Water Services, chalks it up to these main directives:  “City technology incentives, programs and educational campaigns are helping Calgarians use water more wisely in the home and in business,” she said.

Other program highlights in 2008 included:

  • More than 7,896 high performing low flush toilets were installed in existing Calgary homes as a result of the Toilet Replacement Program.
  • More than 750 toilets in seven different Calgary hotels were replaced over the 10-week Hotel/Motel Toilet Replacement program.
  • An increased number of workshops and events where Calgarians learned about tips and technologies to save water and money.
  • More than 52,000 youth, teachers and families participated in water education programs.
  • The installation of more than 9,600 new water meters.

In 2009, Calgary hopes for growth in the area of universal water metering. Nearly 82 per cent of Calgarians have installed a water meter, but 53,400 flat rate accounts still remain. Currently, all industrial customers are already on a water meter, while residential customers have until January 1, 2015 to make the switch.

“Universal water metering is effective at reducing water consumption because it allows customers to track and pay for the actual amount of water they use each month. In fact, it’s estimated that the average residence on a water meter uses approximately 270 litres per capita per day. Homes on flat rates have been shown to use up to 50 per cent more.”

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The City also helped drive per capita water consumption down in its own operations in 2008. From the Bearspaw Water Treatment Plant, which went fully operational after the installation of upgrades in early 2008 to the Glenmore Water Treatment Plant with upgrades now currently underway, water treatment processes have been streamlined to significantly reduce the amount of water required to be drawn from the river each year.

City Council adopted the Water Efficiency Plan goal known as 30-in-30 in 2005 with the intention of better managing our water resource. And changing people’s water use patterns is key, says Stalker.

“The goal of 30-in-30 is to reduce Calgary’s per capita water consumption by 30 per cent over 30 years.  This would allow The City to accommodate its projected population by 2033.”

Look for a profile of Calgary’s Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in our upcoming March/April issue.

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