By Eric Klotz
The average Canadian uses [approximately] 350 litres of water per day,” said Lyndsey Rosevear over a loud speaker in MacEwan Student Centre Tue., Nov. 22. Rosevear is the Director of International Relations at the University of Calgary Rotaract Club. They held a Water Consumption Awareness Campaign on International Water Awareness Day.
The campaign was held in conjunction with Engineers Without Borders with the aid of the City of Calgary Water Works and the many student volunteers that took part.
Rotaract is a branch of Rotary International that got its name by combining ‘rotary’ and ‘action.’
The action was in the form of a day-long event including a one-hour memorial where passers-by dropped a flower every eight seconds on a large H2O insignia.
“Every eight seconds somebody in the world dies because of unsanitized water, we take ours for granted,” said one of the Rotaract Club volunteers, noting more than 5 million people die from water born diseases each year and 1.1 billion people lack access to healthy water.
Rosevear was excited by the success of the event.
“I definitely think awareness was achieved, at least 454 people now understand what is going on globally,” she said.
This is the number of deaths per hour worldwide due to a lack of clean water. The club hopes the event raised students’ awareness of how much water they needlessly waste.
“Even in Canada 20 communities in Northern Ontario lack safe drinking water,” said Rosevear in reference to the recent e.coli and elevated levels of chlorine in the water of the Kashechewan Indian reserve. “We need to put things into perspective and understand the pressures facing us nationally and internationally.”
Rosevear was not alone in her pursuit, Kate Murray, a U of C environmental sciences program graduate from the City of Calgary Water Works, was on hand to explain the amounts of water a Calgarian typically uses.
“Up to 90 litres of water is used to have a bath, and 13 litres per flush of a toilet,” she said.
Murray was at the event to promote Calgary’s water conservation programs.
The Rotaract Club’s campaign was well received by students who participated.
“I learned that we use a lot more [water] than we need,” said part-time U of C student Julian Khan.
“Canadians use a disproportionate amount of water,” added Steven Elliot, a U of C sociology student.
Rosevear said Canadians have the luxury of sitting on 20 per cent of the world’s fresh water, stressing there is no evidence to suggest that our supply will replenish itself.