Tag Archives: greywater

from toilets to the bigger picture: water

I’m happy to say that my toilet post spurred a lot of interest. Even Guy Kawasaki himself wrote back to my comment on his blog and then twittered me (I got very excited by this…. but unfortunately my happiness couldn’t really be shared with all – “Guy who? Twitter what?”)

Anyways, I’m adding to the post. Jay, my most ardent commenter;), brought up the point that the two flush toilet idea wouldn’t work in Canada, based on the fact that water just isn’t that expensive and so the return on investment for switching just isn’t there.

But is this really a return on investment issue? I think it’s a regulatory issue.

He’s right. Water just isn’t that expensive in Canada – damn right… we have the CHEAPEST water in the world!!  (not something to be proud of…)  – really $0.40/m3 vs. $1.91/m3 in Germany – 5 X cheaper!

So perhaps that’s the reason why we’re the second largest consumers (right after the US)

Just because Canada was blessed with most of the largest sources of fresh water in the world doesn’t mean that we should be wasting and polluting it down the drain. Droughts around the world are making Canada look like a haven. And of course the US (with their own droughts) is of course (already) knocking on our door for our blue gold supplies. (If you think this isn’t happening soon think again… Atlanta, Georgia didn’t even know if they could cover 3 months worth – stating a water emergency in the fall. Even in Canada, there’s talk about how blue is becoming the new green…

So, without the market incentives it should be of no surprise that most people just aren’t saving – hence the need for changes in the legislation to make these incentives work.

(of course subsidies for water efficient appliances and taxes for water wasting help too- and this is often being done…)

What about greywater systems?

Not to tackle Jay on this, but he said that it was a ‘non-starter’ in most of Canada.

“You have to shunt water from grey water sources to greywater storage, which costs money to buy and install, as well as taking up floor space (which also costs money). If the maintenance costs of a greywater system are too high, then the cost and headache is hard to justify in the presence of cheap fresh water.”

But looking at this from the glass half full; it’s not a non starter…it just hasn’t fully started yet.

We don’t have the mindset for it but we’re soon moving in that direction.

  • Green building practices (LEED) pushes for it
  • Our old pipes are being replaced – i.e. OPPORTUNITIES for change
  • There have been best practices – it’s been used all over the world

Not saying that everyone should run out and install greywater systems, but over time we should be moving in this direction. And for the gung ho who want to get started on this, here’s some info .

And as for space? C’mon… we’re in Canada where space is everywhere! Our houses are big, our cars are big, heck, WE’RE big! When water costs go up, I don’t think space will be a major concern.

Anyways, in the mean time maybe I should start campaigning… “RAISE MY WATER BILL!” – will others follow suit?  Haha.. probably not… perhaps I’m too much of an idealist;)

On a completely different note… I tried mämmi today. It’s a traditional Finnish Easter porridge. Looks terrible (would go well with my previous post…) but actually, not too bad…


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