Opinion Editorial

Saving water is always good: FOOD MATTERS

Brittany Doner - Special to the Examiner

Water plays a deeply underappreciated role in our day-to-day lives considering its constant use in cooking, cleaning, bathing,

and recreational activities; and on a grander scale, the production of everything from fresh produce, to hydro electricity, and plastics. So, imagine for a moment how a water shortage might affect your life.

Although Canada has touted an abundance of fresh water in the past, it seems this perception has lead to overconsumption and exploitation of our country's water supply. According to Environment Canada, "Canada is one of the highest water users per capita in the world."

In addition to overconsumption, climate change and natural disasters significantly impact lakes and watersheds by decreasing water levels and degrading water quality.

For most people, however, contemplating water shortage is concerning and overwhelming-in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, how does one fit in the time to change the world? The answer is one small change at a time.

By simply being more conscious of your water consumption, and taking small conservation measures, anyone can significantly decrease their water use. Some of the most common ways to decrease water use are:

1) Save a minute or two: Shortening shower time by a few minutes each day, using less water when filling sinks and tubs, and turning off the tap while brushing your teeth will save a lot of water over a year's time.

2) Fill it up: Waiting to run loads of dishes or laundry when machines are completely full.

3) Go with the "low" flow: Installing low-flow toilets, showerheads, and faucet aerators will significantly reduce your water consumption and save you money.

4) Every drop counts: Check for leaks around faucets and water lines and make repairs.

5) Take it to go: Travel with a stainless steel or glass water bottle, and go for good clean tap water. Consider the energy, and water, it takes to make a plastic bottle; treat the water; label, fill and seal the bottle; transport the bottled water to a vendor; and keep it cool in-store, before you buy it, drink it, and throw it away.

To learn more about the protection and conservation of water you don't have to look far, many local water conservation authorities offer educational programs and tours. Moreover, water will be a very special feature at Barrie's annual Ecofest held this June 9 and 10 at Heritage Park.

"Every year Ecofest carries a theme, and this year we've chosen Water is the Lifeblood of the World," says Yolanda Gallo, production manager of Ecofest Barrie 2012, an annual signature event of Back to Basics Social Developments. "While the event is a celebration of the arts and all environmental achievements, this year there will be a spotlight on water. The event will feature a water ballet "After the Storm", from the Ladies of the Lake at dusk on Saturday evening, onsite water bottle engraving and hydration station, a Yurt centre that will house a high tech display of information prepared by universities surrounding a water centre and a special guest appearance by TVO's The Water Brothers from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

In addition to water, the event will also shed light on urban farming and gardens, alternative transportation, geothermal and solar technologies, clean air, and many other artistic and interactive displays and performances.

For more on Ecofest, visit www.ecofestbarrie.ca.

To learn more about the continuing development of a Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter, visit the Food Partners Alliance website at www.fpa.simcoe.ca.

Brittany Doner is a project consultant for the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter.

Food Matters is a monthly column addressing a variety of relevant topics concerning the food system in Simcoe County, as identified by the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter.

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