EDITORIAL: Saving water saves money

The financial costs to ensure Nanaimo residents will have an adequate supply of potable water in the coming decades is beginning to grow like a cresting tsunami.

Already, a $65-million water treatment facility is being built, as are new reservoirs, pump stations and contingencies.

On Monday, council approved a $460,000 contract with a $100,000 contingency fund to explore the costs of a new dam and reservoir to ensure water supply meets demand past 2020.

According to city staff, demand will outpace supply in 2020, when Nanaimo is expected to reach 100,000 people.

For water alone, residents are looking at more than $130 million in infrastructure costs over the next 10 years.

But while we build and build some more to accommodate community growth, why are we not being encouraged more strongly to conserve water, a resource wrongly thought of as infinite?

We have all kinds of options to ensure adequate water supply, but nobody talks of banning summer car washing or lawn watering, or at least storing water for those unecessary tasks in rain barrels.

In the average Nanaimo household, an estimated 30 per cent of treated potable water is wasted, a fact made worse knowing that iDus Controls Ltd., which has won multiple awards for its household grey water systems, is based in Nanaimo.

Its system reduces household water use by up to 40 per cent by directing used kitchen and shower water into black water used in toilets and should be incorporated into building codes to maximize water use efficiency in every new build.

It’s difficult to think why it hasn’t.

We’ve been brought up to take our water for granted and now the costs are stacking up, costs most property owners probably don’t want to pay.

It’s time to commit to conservation, rather than burden residents with taxation for massive infrastructure projects that could be avoided with foresight.

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