Canadians using less water

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C-K residents may not see a decline in their water bills in the near future, but they are conserving more water than the average Canadian.

Recent data released from Statistics Canada shows a 9% drop in water usage across Canada, since 2007. Chatham-Kent's total water usage has dropped by 17% in the last five to seven years.

Chatham-Kent Public Utilities general manager Tom Kissner said the decrease is not entirely residential use, and is partially attributed to the loss of industries in Chatham-Kent.

Kissner also said many homeowners may be conserving more water than they realize. He said most times when a homeowner installs a new appliance such as a dishwasher, toilet or washing machine, they are now accompanied by low flow, high-efficiency devices which stem the flow of water.

"It uses less water to do the same thing an older device would do," he said.

Despite the decrease in water use, Kissner said most C-K residents have seen an increase in their water bills over the last five years.

"(The increase) is associated with us selling less water (for) conservation," he said. "Some of it is due to increased opperational costs."

According to Kissner, a C-K resident pays an average water bill of approximately $32 a month.

"That's less than a cup of coffee from Tim Hortens on a daily basis," he said.

However, Kissner said in the coming years, Ontarians will more than likely see an increase in their water bills.

"I think every year that we go for a rate increase, we certainly hear from some people that are not happy.

"But overall we don't have a lot of people that are complaining about water rates," Kissner added.

The C-K Public Utilities Commission (PUC) operates six drinking water systems. Highgate and Ridgetown each have a ground-water facility. Also, there are four surface-water facilities in Chatham-Kent - one in Wallaceburg, one in Wheatley and two in Chatham. Three of the surface-water facilities draw water from Lake Erie, the other from the Chenal Ecarte.

The C-K PUC treats the water before it's distributed and PUC employees conduct over 125,000 tests a year to ensure the quality of the water.

"There's regulations out there for source water protection," said Kissner. "The whole thought between source water protection and conservation is to ensure that we've got a sustainable water supply in the future."

Kissner said it's important to not only look at conserving water to save money, but also to ensure clean water conservation for future generations.




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