The Prairies, including Saskatchewan, are expected to get warmer and drier. Along with a drier climate the demand for the available water is expected to increase as a result of population and industrial growth, and agricultural developments. These developments mean that water conservation will be an increasingly important climate change adaptation.
In Saskatchewan, the South Saskatchewan River is a key resource. The river rises in the Alberta Rockies and flows east to Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatoon and beyond. Water use is split among agriculture (86%), municipal (9%), thermal electricity (3%) and industrial use (2%). Saskatchewan is aware of the growing demand for water and is pursuing watershed planning to protect both the quality and quantity and timing of water supply.
Efforts are also being made to reduce the demand for water. Canadian per capita water consumption is one of the highest in the world (Figure 1).
There is an opportunity to reduce the demand for water through conservation and increased efficiencies. Both efforts will contribute to communities adapting to a drier climate and periods of drought. Data on water consumption within Saskatchewan communities is available from the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority – Community Water Use Records (go to website ).
Low / Dual Flush Toilets
Toilet use accounts for approximately 30% of domestic potable water consumption. The province, through the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority and the Go Green Fund, implemented The Provincial Toilet Replacement Rebate Program in January 2009. A matching rebate was available within many communities (e.g. Gull Lake, Humbolt, White City | view PDF document on SWA website). By June of 2010, twenty thousand rebates of $50 had been granted. This meant that nearly 650 million litres of water had been conserved over the first year and a half of the program.
Several provincial agencies and groups are promoting water conservation to homeowners. This includes the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority, SaskWater (Figure 2) and the Saskatchewan Environmental Society. The latter has produced a booklet on water use by homeowners (Figure 3). It provides information on how to cut down on water use for in-home activities within the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room as well as surrounding yards and landscaping (xeriscaping, lawn maintenance and watering).
Regina’s Water Conservation Program
Regina implemented a water conservation program in 1988. The program has been successful in reducing average daily water consumption by 20% and the peak daily water use by 25%. The program has been featured in a recent Natural Resources Canada publication and is reproduced below. Conservation programs like Regina’s will become increasingly important in the future.
- Conference Board of Canada (2008): Environment Water Consumption. http://www.conferenceboard.ca/HCP/Details/Environment/water-consumption.aspx#calculated [accessed January 26, 2011]
- Government of Saskatchewan (2010): Provincial Rebate Program is Flush with Success News Release – June 22, 2010. http://www.gov.sk.ca/news?newsId=e6fbd864-7f73-41d1-b186-0165a6d6a719 [access February 20, 2011]
- Natural Resources Canada (2010): Adapting to Climate Change: An Introduction for Canadian Municipalities, published by Natural Resources Canada, http://adaptation.nrcan.gc.ca/mun/index_e.php [accessed January 15, 2011]
- Saskatchewan Environmental Society (2009?): Water Use in Your Home - What You Need to Know to Use Less and Spend Less. http://www.environmentalsociety.ca/issues/water/Consevation_booklet_web.pdf [accessed January 25, 2011]
- Saskatchewan Watershed Authority (2009): Toilet Rebate Program. http://www.swa.ca/WaterConservation/ToiletRebateProgram/Default.asp) [accessed January 25, 2011]
- Saskatchewan Watershed Authority (n.d.): Water Conservation Publications http://www.swa.ca/WaterConservation/default.asp?type=Publications [accessed January 25, 2011]
- Saskatchewan Watershed Authority (2010): SASKATCHEWAN COMMUNITY WATER USE RECORDS 1995 to 2009 REPORT NO. 23. http://www.swa.ca/Publications/Documents/SK_Community_Water_Use_Report_1995_to_2009.pdf [accessed January 30, 2011]
- SaskWater (n.d.): Conservation. http://www.saskwater.com/Conservation [accessed January 25, 2011]