During the month of May I was a blue patroller for the borough of Côte-des-Neiges and Notre-dame-de-grace. Throughout this experience, combined with gained knowledge from my university classes, I have learned how important water conservation has become and how extremely lucky we are in Quebec. Living off the fleuve St-Laurent; Montreal is one of the most rich water centres in the world. This doesn’t mean we have the opportunity to use more water because we have it. Water scarcity around the world is due to uneven distribution. While some of us may have more than enough water for our families, there are drought areas who suffer from lack of water.

In Montréal, the Jean R. Marcotte wastewater treatment plant is the third biggest plant in the world. This plant takes a large amount of wastewater and rainwater from the island of Montréal. It can treat a quantity of water equivalent to the interior of the Montreal Olympic stadium. We are lucky to be able to have facilities here to treat such a huge amount of water, although it is extremely expensive to do so and using a lot of water puts stress on our water facilities and pipes.

Fortunately, there are many ways to save water inside your household and out. Some ways to save water in your household would be to take shorter showers, make sure to not keep the water running while brushing your teeth, don’t buy bottled water (It is also a waste of plastic!) and flush the toilet less. Did you know every time you flush the toilet you use about 30 litres of water? To reduce your household water usage you can always buy low flow appliances such as low flow shower heads, toilets, washing machines etc. These appliances don’t sacrifice function or flow but do help you cut down your daily water usage! Looking for a quick fix for your toilet water consumption? Adding an empty closed container or water bottle to your toilet reservoir will reduce the amount of space needed to be filled with water after each flush. This is a great, easy way to make a difference.

When I was doing door to door visits around the borough I noticed a lot of gutters on people’s houses were facing towards their pavement, driveway entrances or connected to the water pipeline. This puts stress on Montreal’s waste water system as most of the water directed towards impermeable surfaces goes directly to the sewer system or towards your house foundation; which can cause costly repairs. Direct your rain water to a permeable surface, such as a garden, front lawn or grassy area. If that seems difficult to do, you can buy a rain barrel which allows you to collect the rainwater for future uses you may have. You can use it to water your garden!

Water is so very important for many things. Let’s do our share in making sure we conserve it.

By: Emily Winsor