May 30th, 2024

City launches water conservation series


By Lethbridge Herald on April 10, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALD

The City of Lethbridge has launched a weekly series of articles which focus on water conservation and other matters pertaining to the valuable resource, a topic which is extremely timely given the drought situation impacting the province.

The first article written by the City below focuses on bathroom conservation:

Almost half of all home water usage occurs in the bathroom. From detecting and fixing toilet leaks to optimizing shower and bath routines, every drop saved translates to significant savings and conservation.

 For the sake of this story, we will provide context for a family of four. We’ll call them the Hendersons. We uncover a few simple yet effective ways the Hendersons can conserve water and lower their utility bill. The information provided here is based on the April 2024 City of Lethbridge residential water rate of $1.327 per cubic meter.

Toilets are often the source of unnoticed leaks. Not only are they wasteful, they’re also expensive! A leaky toilet can waste upwards of 1,000 litres of water every day. This equates to almost $500 a year in water costs. 

“A leaky toilet uses an immense amount of water that you’re paying for,” says Kathleen Sheppard, Executive Director of Environment Lethbridge. “Don’t forget to check all your toilets for leaks, even that one in the guest bathroom that no one uses.”

Lowering your cost-per-flush is another way to save and conserve. According to a report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), toilets older than 20 years typically flush with 13 to 20 litres of water. Installing a WaterSense® toilet ensures no more than 4.8 litres per flush. 

Assuming the Hendersons each flush the toilet twice daily they could reduce their water bill and usage by more than 70 per cent.

According to Sheppard, the average shower uses almost 10 litres of water per minute. 

That means a typical eight-minute shower uses a whopping 80 litres of water!

If each member of the Henderson family showers once a day, that’s around $155 a year in water costs. If the Hendersons reduce their showers to six minutes, the annual price drops to around $116. And if they can each get clean in five minutes? That’s around $97 a year, a savings of more than 37 per cent!

“We all love the feeling of a nice hot shower but cutting it a few minutes short is a great way to save water,” says Sheppard. “Use a timer or a short playlist to make sure you meet your goal.”

A low flow shower head also lowers consumption. It reduces usage to approximately 7.5 litres per minute. This would result in the Hendersons paying only $72.50 a year for their daily five-minute cleansing sessions. That’s less than half their original amount!

Let’s assume, however, the Hendersons prefer daily baths. According to the CMHC report, a typical bath uses at least 150 litres of water. 

This would add up to 4,200 litres of water usage a week, removing around $290 a year from the Hendersons’ bank account.

 While there are exceptions, baths typically use a lot more water than showers. But if you prefer baths, try soaking in less water or consider reducing your soaks to every other day.

Using a few easy conservation methods in the family bathroom, the Hendersons could save upwards of $800 a year. They could also conserve around 315 cubic meters (that’s 315,000 litres!) of water.

The next story  will cut costs and conserve water in the Hendersons’ kitchen.

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