Water Supply Shortage in Vancouver? It Can Happen.
April 2, 2018
Surrounded by water, but without a drop to drink; That’s the potential future for Vancouver, or any coastal city, if climate change and population growth continues. A water supply shortage can loom over any city if the correct measures aren’t enacted early.
Impossible? Think again: Cape Town, another coastal city, is experiencing this right now, and is on the verge of reaching Day Zero, a day where the city will run out of usable water. Geographically located on the southern tip of Africa, Cape Town has fallen victim to a severe three year drought, as well as water use mismanagement.
A WAter supply shortage can loom over any city
While a drought is hard to plan for, managing water use is. The lack of sub-metering in BC, and especially in Vancouver, is a problem we must face as well. With only 6.2% of City of Vancouver homes currently being metered, it’s next to impossible to properly manage our water usage. Currently, most Vancouver residents pay a flat fee for water instead of being sub-metered, removing any incentive to save water. This means that with no insight into how much water end users use (and Canadians use a lot of water), there’s no reason anyone would think about conserving water!
This is especially true for residents within a condominium or apartment. Normally for these multi-residential buildings, the City will have a main water meter going into the building. However, what ends up happening is that without proper hardware installed, property managers are forced to take the total cost of water they owe the city and divide it amongst however many tenants they have.
That means if your neighbor takes 10 baths a month, while you conserve your water use and only take 7-minute showers, you will both pay the same amount! With individual meters installed, you won’t have to subsidize your neighbor Wasteful Wanda’s baths. Further, you can track and measure your water use as well.
It’s hard to determine when the next drought occur in Vancouver, as climate change creates more polar weather patterns that make future events harder to predict. But we can take steps to reduce our water usage to reduce the potential for future water supply shortage events.
Read more about Water Management: