Posts Tagged 'vancouver'

Flow: For the Love of Water

Film director Irena Salina’s documentary entitled Flow: For the Love of Water has been described as water’s version of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. The film strives to put a human face on the global water crisis.

“One of the things that became immediately apparent to me was that water is a truly unifying element. We all need it, we all want it and more than anything else in the world it is the one thing that connects us all – Irena Salina.

If you live in or near the Vancouver, Canada area and would like to check out the documentary, it will begin showing on December 12th, 2008 at the Vancity Theatre. Go see it right away because it’s only in Vancouver for a week!

Vancity Theatre

1181 Seymour St., Vancouver

tel. (604) 683-3456

In the meantime, you can check out the website here for more information and background on the people who made the documentary and how it was made.

 

 

flow

Irena Salina’s award-winning documentary investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century – The World Water Crisis. Salina builds a case against the growing privatization of the world’s dwindling fresh water supply with an unflinching focus on politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel. Interviews with scientists and activists intelligently reveal the rapidly building crisis, at both the global and human scale, and the film introduces many of the governmental and corporate culprits behind the water grab, while begging the question “CAN ANYONE REALLY OWN WATER?” Beyond identifying the problem, FLOW also gives viewers a look at the people and institutions providing practical solutions to the water crisis and those developing new technologies, which are fast becoming blueprints for a successful global and economic turnaround.

One Step Closer to Water Conscious Construction

Heard of LEED certified?

It is the standard that house builders try to certify their homes through. It basically means using sustainable and energy conserving products. Really cool stuff.

Locally in Vancouver, the 2010 Olympics have required most of their buildings to be LEED certified, so it is an important standard. But what about water consumption?  Well, recently in North Carolina, the EPA have celebrated the very first water efficient home, built to use 10,000 less gallons than a normal house. Check out the article below, courtesy of our friends at Circle Of Blue.

CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina — As green builders proliferate across the nation, blue buildings are claiming their fifteen minutes as well. This November U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials celebrate the very first water efficient house in the country.

Certified by EPA’s partner program WaterSense, the Briar Chapel Community home uses 10,000 gallons less water than a conventional abode. With less resource-intensive irrigation, efficient internal plumbing and low consumption appliances, builders say the structure saves water from lawn to laundry.

The accomplishment marks an important step toward increased consumer consciousness concerning resource use in the U.S. According to Water Partners International, the average American uses 100 to 176 gallons of water a day. That equals about 30 times the four to five gallons needed to survive. The average African uses 5 gallons.

TWU Magazine’s Article on WaterDrop

WaterDrop has recently been featured in an article in Trinity Western University Magazine. You can check out the article here. Thanks to everyone at TWU Magazine for helping us get the word out!

Interview With the City of Vancouver’s Water Conservation Manager

WaterDrop was pleased to interview the City of Vancouver’s Water Conservation Manager, Jennifer Bailey last week about Vancouver and it’s water conservation efforts. As you can see from the interview below, Vancouver has seen some great progress over the years and is on a trend towards greater sustainability. Check out the entire interview, there is tons of helpful information and tips!

City of Vancovuer

1.Tell us a little about yourself and what you do for the City of Vancouver.

Water Conservation Program Manager.  Promote water conservation through public engagement of indoor and outdoor water use; manage incentive programs (water efficiency kits and rain barrels); provide education on the lawn sprinkling and, when required, enforcement of regulations; support City Farmer waterwise demonstration garden; administer elementary school plays on water conservation (see http://www.vancouver.ca/engsvcs/watersewers/environment/AtoZ.htm)

2.How important to you is water conservation?

Water conservation just makes sense.  It is about sustainable use of water to ensure affordable and equitable supply of drinking water into the future.  We are in the enviable position of having protected source waters, supplying us with high-quality water at the turn of the tap.  However, with a growing population, the demand on this resource is increasing.  Becoming “water wise” through simple things such as retrofitting with water efficient fixtures and turning water guzzling lawns into gardens of drought-resistant plants, are great small steps for delaying costly expansions of our drinking water system.

3.What is your take on the global water crisis on a global, national and local level?

Access to a clean supply of water is essential for life.  In Canada, we are fortunate to have about 6.5% of the world supply of fresh water.  However, a need for sustainable water use on a national level within this seeming abundance, is supported by Canadians ranked as one of the largest per capita waters users (next to the US), supply by region (certain regions in Canada already have water shortages), and the relationship between water (storage, treatment, transport, and waste water treatment) and energy output and associated GHG emissions.

On a local level, we are seeing the average per-capita consumption drop, yet an overall increase in demand due to population growth.  Per capita water use in all categories, residential through industrial, in the City of Vancouver has dropped to 542 litres per day in 2007 from 583 litres in 2006 and 764 litres in 1986.  Contributing factors are the installation of more water efficient fixtures (replacing the old 20 litre toilets with low-flow six litre toilets, low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators, water-efficient washing machines), lawn sprinkling restrictions, and a shift towards more people living in smaller and more water efficient housing options.  Thus, the focus of the water conservation program is demand side management to reduce customer usage, through behaviour-based education and plumbing code modifications, as a means to delay costly water system infrastructure expansions.

4.How long have Vancouver’s water conservation and sustainability efforts been in place?

The City has taken a proactive approach to water conservation by implementing a variety of education and incentive programs in the early 90’s and amending the Vancouver Building by-law to require low flow fixtures on all new development.  A brief timeline of the City’s water conversation initiatives is found below:

· 1993: lawn sprinkling regulations introduced; elementary school play on water conservation called “A2Z of H2O” was written and performed in all Vancouver  (program has since expanded into other Metro Vancouver municipalities); and the replacement of an inclining block rate structure (where high volume users get price break) with a uniform rate for metered customers

· 1995: Ultra-low flow toilets, showerheads, aerating faucets, recirculating cooling systems and ornamental fountains mandated in new building construction; subsidized rain barrel program

· 1997: promotion of waterwise gardening through City Farmer

· 2002: Campaign on natural lawn care, “Grow Natural” Program

· 2005: Indoor water saving kit introduced

· 2006: Outdoor water saving kit introduced

· 2007: Lawn sprinkling door-to-door contact pilot; low flow spray valve installed in 750 restaurants; Vancouver Green Building Strategy being developed;

· 2008: Waterwise landscape guideline currently being developed

5. What do you think Vancouver’s role is in water conservation and sustainability on a national level?

City of Vancouver is a supporter Canadian Water and Wastewater Association and active member.  The City also supports National initiatives that are appropriate for our local environment.

6. What is Vancouver currently doing to be a water sustainable city?

· Green Building Strategy – promoting energy and water efficiency in buildings.

· Green Homes Program – proposing building by-law changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase in-building water efficiency. http://www.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/CBOFFICIAL/greenbuildings/greenhomes/

· Promoting waterwise gardening – establishing waterwise guidelines for use by developers and property owners doing landscape work.

Sewers separation program – separating sanitary systems from storm water to avoid combined system overflow events, and reduce stress on wastewater treatment facilities.

Rain water management – treating rain water runoff as a resource through integration into rain gardens, vegetated swales, and providing opportunities for rain water to naturally percolate into the ground to recharge ground water. (http://www.vancouver.ca/engsvcs/watersewers/environment/integratedDrain.htm)

7.What do you think of the state of awareness of water conservation efforts in Vancouver?

People have been very supportive of the City’s water conservation efforts.  Some good indicators of this are: no opposition to low-flow fixtures mandated in new development, excellent uptake of incentive programs, and success of sprinkling regulations.  In the City of Vancouver alone, the sprinkling regulation demand side management measure has resulted in saving excess of $10 million through the avoidance of transmission capacity upgrades.

8.Where would you like to see Vancouver in the future? What are Vancouver’s goals?

Water goals: to ensure long term reliable supply of water for a growing customer base through water loss management (controlling leakage) and working with customers on demand side management programs.   The key drivers for conservation programs are water use reductions that allow for the deferral of costly supply and storage capacity increasing infrastructure projects, and reduced impact on the environment from supply increasing infrastructure construction work and less energy consumed by pump stations.

9.What are some good resources for people to find out more about saving water?

Vancouver.ca/water

gvrd.bc.ca/water

10.What can people do to be more water conscious and get involved with this initiative?

Take advantage of City’s incentive programs – indoor and outdoor water saving kits, and rain barrels.

If you have a lawn, let it go dormant in the summer, or if you must water, once a week (2.5 cm of water) is all you need for a healthy lawn.

Fix leaking toilets and faucets.  A leaking toilet can waste 150 litres a day.

 

Thanks to Jennifer and the City of Vancouver for the interview!

Water and China – The Effects of Hosting an Olympic Event

With the 2010 Olympics fast approaching here in Vancouver, I began to wonder what effects the games will have on our watershed, what with over 500,000 people estimated to come for the event, alongside 6700 games participants, and 10,000 media correspondents, this makes for very large strain on our water system.

What are Vancouver's Olympic Plans?

Is Vancouver’s Watershed Prepared for the Olympic Strain?

I stumbled upon a post over at watercrunch, that outlines all the efforts China has undertaken to prepare them for the Bejiing Olympics. Here is a list of some of the initiatives the world superpower is undertaking. For a complete list check it out here.

  1. China is building 14 new wastewater treatment facilities, with the goal of increasing waste water treatment to 90 percent in both the city center and surrounding towns.
  2. China had a goal to increase sufficient water treatment for tap water from 42 percent in 2001 to 70 percent in Beijing. The tap water goal has been scaled back to focus only on the Olympic Village, postponing potable tap water for the whole city until after 2008.
  3. The national stadium drinking water project will use pretreatment and reverse osmosis to provide over 500 gallons per minute of drinking water (~500,000 bottles of water per day).
  4. A rainwater recycling project at the national stadium will recycle rainwater using underground pools and water will be re-used for landscaping, fire-fighting, and cleaning ( Capacity is about 80 tons per hour). This is a first for China.
  5. Qinghe Water Reuse Project—the largest municipal wastewater membrane reuse project in China—will supply water for the Olympic lake, landscaping, and non-drinking water applications in the Olympic Village.
  6. More than 150 million cubic meters (39.6 billion gallons) of water are being diverted from the Yellow River through a network of canals stretching across three provinces to refill a lake south of the historically drought-stricken Chinese capital.

As you can see, this is no small undertaking, and it is clearly going to take a huge toll on China’s already drought-strained resources. My question, as a local Vancouverite, is how much impact are the Olympics going to have on our water supply and what are the long term effects?

I am in the process of discovering this information and I will post more once I find out. In any event, it will be interesting to watch the success or failure of China’s water system will be on showcase when millions tune in for the event in 56 days.


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