My days, particularly over the last couple of years, look very much the same. My daily tasks include drinking a glass of water in the morning and before bed; showering, washing my face and brushing my teeth; making breakfast, lunch and dinner; throwing on a load of laundry and the dishwasher; creating compelling content for Aquatera; and watching the Real Housewives.

As you can see, I lead quite a gripping life…

What you may not see is that most of these tasks require one critical ingredient: water - something that I, and many others, take for granted.

Water is an essential resource and, luckily, one that our communities and residents don’t need to worry about. This is because, everyday, Aquatera works diligently to ensure a clean, safe and reliable water supply. Sadly, for 2.2 billion people worldwide, this is not the case. But we have the power and opportunity to change that.

Since 1993, March 22 has been recognized as World Water Day. On this day, we celebrate water and raise awareness of the many people who do not have the same privileges we experience every day. 

How we value water determines how water is managed and shared. Water has immense and complex value for our households, culture, health, education, economy and the integrity of our natural environment. If we overlook these values, we risk mismanaging this finite, irreplaceable resource. As the leading provider of water and wastewater services in the Grande Prairie region, I want to take an opportunity to highlight two perspectives around the value of water, that really hit home for Aquatera, and how we contribute to this initiative each and every day.

1. Valuing Water Sources

All water is generated by ecosystems, with the water cycle being our most important ecosystem service. We must put greater value on protecting the environment to ensure a good quality water supply, and to build resilience against environmental events such as flooding and drought.

The Wapiti River is the regional source of drinking water for more than 80,000 people in Aquatera’s service region. To protect it, Aquatera follows rigorous environmental standards to treat our wastewater so that it can be safely discharged back in the Wapiti River. In fact, over 80 per cent of what is taken from the river is safely returned.

We also engage in outside-the-box thinking, such as using natural resources like bank stabilization, a method of soil bioengineering, to prevent erosion, stabilize our riverbanks, and protect our pumping facilities, storage ponds, and water intakes. Learn more about the Wapiti River Bank Stabilization implemented to protect this valuable resource.

And by exploring opportunities to expand services in large scale industrial wastewater treatment, there is an opportunity for industry to consume less water and recycle what they do use, allowing us to protect this valuable resource.

2. Valuing Water Infrastructure

Water infrastructure stores and moves water to where it is most needed and helps clean and return it to nature after human use. Where this infrastructure is inadequate, socio-economic development is undermined and ecosystems are endangered. Typical assessments of water infrastructure tend to underestimate or not include costs, particularly social and environmental costs.

At Aquatera, we have more than adequate water infrastructure to ensure the safe storage and delivery of high-quality drinking water. In order to continue the provision of clean and safe water for our customers and environment, our rates reflect the cost to provide services to our customers. We work carefully to establish fair and affordable rates, while ensuring that our operational requirements are protected, and our investments allow us to continue providing trusted quality, valued service and peace of mind.

To set our rates, we use full cost accounting, which measures the complete, true costs of operating our business. Full cost accounting principles ensure that overhead and indirect costs, and past and future costs are all accounted for, meaning our infrastructure is sufficient, secure and promotes growth and development. Learn more about Rate Setting, Revenues, Investments and Profits at Aquatera.

How We Can Help

The truth is, clean, safe water is a privileged resource and something we often take for granted. Making some simple changes can help you not only conserve water, but maybe even save you a few extra bucks on your next monthly bill.

Here’s a few ways to get started:

Test for Leaks

Even the smallest leak, if left unnoticed can waste gallons of water and cause your monthly bill to increase. Testing for small leaks is so easy you can get the kids on board to help! To start, place a few drops of food coloring in the back of your toilet tank. If after 10 or so minutes the color appears in your bowl, you have a leak. You can also stop by Aquatera and pick up some dye tablets to do this as well! A second way to check is by simply recording your water meter reading in the late evening, and then again early in the morning. If there is a big difference in readings, you may have a leak.

Take Shorter Showers

Hey, we totally get it. Everyone loves to sit and bask in the glory of a nice hot shower! But, let’s say you take that 20 minute shower – which hammers out two gallons of water per minute – and cut it down to 12 minutes. You are saving yourself sixteen gallons of water per shower…that’s a total of 5,840 gallons per year. Whoa.

Run Full Loads Only

Dishwashers and washing machines should be fully loaded to maximize water conservation. Did you know that even using the “Permanent Press” cycle on your washing machine can add up to five gallons of water for that extra rinse?

Only Water When Needed

Most lawns only need about 1 inch of water a week. That’s it. A good way to test if your lawn needs watering at all is to step on it. If it bounces back when you move your foot, no water necessary. Also, letting your grass grow a little taller will actually promote water retention in the soil. Who knew!

Think at the Sink

Whether it’s prepping your veggies for that yummy salad or rinsing some fruit to munch on, cleaning fruits and vegetables in a partially filled sink rather than a continuously running tap can save you tons of water. This goes for hand-washing those quick few dishes after you eat as well!

As you can see, with just a few small changes we can all contribute to making the most of our water and valuing it rather than taking it for granted. We would love to hear how you value this precious resource, so leave a comment below!