Protecting and Conserving Water
Drinking Water Source Protection
Source water is the untreated water in lakes and rivers, and in underground aquifers, that people use for drinking water. Source water protection means protecting our sources of drinking water from contamination or overuse. It is the first step to a multi‐barrier approach to protecting municipal drinking water, and often is the only line of defense for private drinking water supplies. Source water protection emerged as a result of the public inquiry following the contamination of the Walkerton drinking water supply in 2000.
Most of Loyalist Township is within the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority area, with a small section falling into the Quinte Conservation Authority area. For information on the two Source Protection Areas' mandate and plan, please visit their respective websites:
Cataraqui Source Protection Area
Quinte Region Source Protection Area
There are many things that we can all do to conserve water at home. If you are on a municipal water supply, conserving water also saves you money. If you have your own well, you may already have water conservation measures in place. Here are some suggestions for conserving water around the home.
In the Yard
- Don’t water your lawn. A healthy lawn will survive a dry period by going dormant.
- If you must water your lawn, it is better to water once a week, using only 25mm (1 inch) of water. Measure the amount of water your lawn is receiving by placing a small can, like an empty tuna can, on the lawn to collect water. Use a ruler to measure the amount accumulated.
- Do not over water. The soil cannot store excess water to be used later. Proper watering encourages deep root growth, which makes lawns and gardens healthier and better able to survive dry periods.
- Do your watering early in the morning or late at night to reduce evaporation from the sun. Watering during the middle of the day is a waste.
- Use a broom, instead of a hose, to sweep sidewalks and driveways.
In the House
- Check all taps, toilets, and other household appliances regularly for leaks.
- Use aerators or flow reducers on taps.
- Never leave the water running while washing the dishes or cleaning vegetables. Partially fill the sink with water instead.
- Store bottles of drinking water in the fridge instead of running the tap for cold water.
- Have short showers rather than baths. Use low flow shower heads.
- Don’t leave the water running while brushing your teeth or shaving.
- Flushing the toilet uses a lot of water. If you are renovating your bathroom, consider replacing your toilet with a low flow model.
- If replacing your toilet is not an option, consider retrofitting existing toilets with flow-reducing mechanisms. These devices reduce the flow of water through displacement or retention, or by altering the flushing mechanisms. Although they can save a lot of water over the life of the toilet, it is important to select the right one. Be sure to check with your toilet's manufacturer before purchasing or installing one of these devices.
Testing for Leaks
If you have a water meter, periodically check for hidden water leaks by recording the water meter reading in the late evening and again in the early morning, or before and after any long period when there is no water use. Compare the reading to determine if there was any water consumption recorded over that period. If the meter indicates water use, track down the source and have it repaired.
Some water meters have a raid dial beside the numbers that record the volume of water used. This dial turns when water is running through the meter. If the dial is moving while there is no water being used in the house, there is a water leak somewhere. If you have a newer model of meter that transmits the reading by radio frequency, the light-activated display alternates between the meter reading and the current flow rate, which can similarly be checked for signs of a leak.
Hidden leaks can be difficult to find. The dye test can be helpful to discover leaks in your toilet. Dye packs are available for pickup at the Odessa Municipal Office.
Sometimes you can hear a trickle of water when all taps are turned off. You may need to do some detective work to find the leak. One good place to start is in the laundry room. Some older-style laundry tub taps have a tube that connects to the floor drain. When the tap is turned on, some water trickles into the floor drain (the water in the floor drain stops sewer gas odours from entering the house). When the tap is closed, the water should stop trickling. Worn washers can allow the water to continue to flow to the floor drain and be the source of the leak.
The Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corporation has produced a Household Guide to Water Efficiency, which can be downloaded in PDF by clicking the title. (8MB)