Overconsumption of Water
by Rileym on October 7, 2016 - 7:25pm
In North America, we are guilty for consuming more resources than required. Canada ranks in the top ten countries that consume the most water in the world. The Vancouver Sun recently released an article titled ‘Canadians rank among worlds top water hogs”. This article serves a strong purpose in raising awareness of this issue to Canadians, specifically Vancouverites, and promoting lower consumption of water. The article offers methods of reducing water usage that other countries have employed. Techniques including increased water pricing and the implementation of water preserving appliances have resulted in dramatic reductions.
Metro Vancouver is a major actor in this environmental issue according to the POLIS project. Vancouver uses double the amount of water as Germans per capita. Randy Shore, the author of this article, points to a simple concept employed by the German government to ensure this reduction; higher prices on water simply result in less unnecessary water usage. Australia is another country that Shore includes in countries whose methods of water conservation should be replicated. Australians pay 62% more for water than Canadians, driving water consumption down. They have also set an example for other countries in the installation of water preserving appliances. 86% of Australian homes have dual-flush, ultra low-flow toilets, which use 50%-75% less water than conventional toilets. The implementation of these water saving methods are what have led to the massive 35% reduction in water use in Australia over the period of a decade.
Society is using more resources than the earth can provide, and it is the responsibility of Canadians to take action in preserving our environment. The issue is that society has become accustomed to overconsumption. It is a bad habit that has become a societal norm over recent decades. This overconsumption unfortunately results in the depletion of our environment. Any positive change towards reduced resource usage is difficult as people are set in their ways and have become used to environmental resources for their luxury rather than necessity. That is why it is important for the government to intervene. The government exists greatly to manage resources. It holds a tremendous amount of power and therefore it is the responsibility and duty of the government to manage resources wisely. However, often times the governing body forgets this and allows the health of the environment to be put on the backburner for sake of the economy and convenience of citizens. The state needs to remember that resource management is not just something that the state does, but that successful resource management creates for a healthy environment, which maintains a state. Therefore, it is vital that the government of Canada implement laws and policies similar to those of Australia and Germany. The government must enforce reduction through laws to make change, including higher pricing of water and technologies that lower water consumption. It is the governments’ responsibility as most people are not likely to limit their usage independently as it impedes their convenience and habits of overconsumption.
With the power that the government holds, it is important that they create norms that prioritize sustainable resource management. The governments’ power allows for positive control of ideas for future generations. Though society may be resistant to change now, it is possible that through new educational programs and media output that Canadians can be influenced, not enforced, to prioritize environmental sustainability. Vancouverites may be considered ‘water hogs’ on the international scale now, but through implementation of sustainable policies to reduce water usage, as well as creation of new norms to influence environmentally friendly habits, we can begin to create change!
Shore, R. (2015). Canadians rank among world’s top water hogs. Vancouver Sun. http://www.vancouversun.com/Canadians+rank+among+world+water+hogs/112748...