Today, March 22, is World Water Day, an international day declared by the United Nations General Assembly to celebrate freshwater resources. But surprisingly, there is not a lot of fanfare or celebration – at least not in Vancouver. Why? Is it because we have so much water that we tend to forget about it? Think, for a moment, what you would do if you didn’t have any water. It doesn’t take long to realize that we need water for so many things – and in ways we may not think about very often.
In Canada, we use water for generating electricity, mining, agriculture, drinking and oil and gas exploration. When we turn on our taps, lights or heat, or buy our food and other “stuff”, we’re using water. Canadians use more water per capita than any other country, aside from the U.S. In Canada, each person uses an average of nearly 350 litres of water per day, whereas some individuals in other parts of the world, with very little access to water, use less than 10 litres daily. Well, we must have lots of water in Canada if we use so much of it, so it’s okay to be lavish with it, right?
Actually, the perception that Canada has an abundance of water is a myth, according to local experts. Most of our water flows to the north and is not available where the majority of the population lives. Also, we don’t have as much renewable water, or rainwater, as we think. In order for us to continue using the amount of water we do, water is diverted from other water basins to those that have higher demand than supply. In fact, Canada diverts more water than any other country.
Why does this matter? Because people are not the only ones using water; aquatic animals rely on water for their survival too. When we draw water from rivers, lakes and streams, there is less water for aquatic life.
So, the next time you turn on the tap, light switch, or heat, or purchase something, remember this; by using less water you can affect the conservation of aquatic life.
Join the Vancouver Aquarium in celebrating World Water Day by reducing your use of water, our most precious natural resource, and by doing your part to protect aquatic life.
To learn more about the Aquarium’s conservation mission, visit here.