Water-use in Winnipeg peaked in 1990 and has continued to decline ever since. Over the past decade alone, water usage has decreased by roughly 15%, from 70,960 million litres in 2006 to 60,560 million litres in 2015. This decrease has been a result of water conservation programming, innovation in water efficient technology, and government regulations.
Residential water-use still represents the bulk of all purchases, accounting for over two-thirds of Winnipeg's total consumption. As Winnipeg increases in both size and population, the demand for resources such as safe drinking water will continue to grow. While Winnipeg has an adequate water supply, we still need to be diligent in using it responsibly and sustainably. Declining water use allows the city to maintain our adequate water supply and can eliminate or defer costly expansion of existing water and sewer infrastructure.
This is particularly critical for Winnipeg because most recent climate change models show an expected shift in the frequency and intensity of precipitation the region will receive in the future as it experiences dramatic seasonal fluctuations. As a result, these forecasted scenarios will not only place more stress on the drinking water supply system, but warmer temperatures coupled with erratic precipitation patterns will also bring heightened periods of drought along with greater instances of flooding throughout the year.
It is clear, then, that the City of Winnipeg and its residents will need to adapt to these changes accordingly. This means developing methods and strategies that allow us to simultaneously divert and manage large volumes of excess water during periods of extreme flooding, while still maintaining the capacity to draw upon those water resources later in the year during periods of drought. It also means that residents must do their part to reduce water use.
Just as you wouldn't leave a door open in the middle of winter, we know that wasting water isn't smart either – water down the drain means money slipping through your fingers each month. Regular meter readings can help you save money and avoid high bills by alerting you to unusual increases in the amount of water you use. They also assist in the early detection of costly water waste and plumbing leaks. Check your plumbing fixtures regularly and fix any dripping taps or faulty toilets. Plumbing leaks can be very costly. Here are some examples:
The Water and Waste Department has plenty of water saving tips for all types of customers. Take an opportunity to explore their materials online or click one of these links:
- Residential Water Saving Tips
- Multi-Family Residential Water Saving Tips
- Commercial Water Saving Tips
- Youth Education and Awareness Program
If you would like more information about water conservation and what you can do, here are some helpful resources:
- Winnipeg's Residential Toilet Replacement Credit Program:
Take advantage of this credit program to replace an old water guzzling toilet with a 'WaterSense' labelled toilet that uses 20% less water than a conventional 6-litre toilet. Before you replace an existing toilet, we encourage you to read about the program and calculate the payback period for purchasing a new WaterSense labelled toilet.
- Winnipeg's Fix-a-Leak Week / Get a Handle on Plumbing Leaks Campaign:
Running every year in March , 'Fix-a-Leak' Week is a campaign to help remind and encourage homeowners to get a handle on plumbing leaks. In many cases, fixture replacement parts are inexpensive, pay for themselves quickly, and can be installed by do-it-yourselfers or plumbing professionals. This campaign provides residents with easily-accessible information and DIY solutions.
- Winnipeg's Drinking Water Source - Shoal Lake:
Learn more about where Winnipeg's drinking water comes from, how the water quality is monitored, and information about historical First Nations shared-access agreements.
- Winnipeg's Annual Water Quality Reports:
Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors regulate and report the quality of our drinking water. Our operating license requires that we regularly monitor the quality of our drinking water. This includes daily routine tests for chlorine, turbidity, lead, total trihalomethanes, and fluoride. The annual report of our water supply system can be found here for review.
- Winnipeg's Utility Charges and Rates:
The City of Winnipeg provides a list of current and future billing rates, as well as a full explanation of the different charges that show up on your bills, including water rates, sewer rates, and other basic charges. It also includes information on any additional fees, such as meter replacements, meter testing, and water pipe thawing.
- Manitoba Hydro's Power Smart Water & Energy Saver Program:
Through the Power Smart Water & Energy Saver Program, Manitoba Hydro offers free 'Water and Energy Saver Kits' containing high-efficiency, low-flow plumbing devices for your home to help you save money, reduce both water and energy consumption, all while lowering your carbon footprint.
- Lake Friendly:
The City of Winnipeg is a Lake Friendly partner, which means that we purchase only EcoLogo and Green Seal certified cleaning products. The Lake Friendly website provides more information about why protecting our water resources is so important and how to take action.