Hygienic practice has us accustomed to flushing the toilet every time we go. Although this might be necessary at certain times, we need to reduce the amount we flush in order to conserve water. The toilet is the number one water-consuming apparatus in a household, accounting for 30 percent of household water usage. If we can limit the number of times we flush we will be able to conserve many liters of one of the world’s most valuable resources.

Canada has the most freshwater resources of any country in the world, including the Great Lakes and glacial sources on both the east and west coasts. Society is slowly becoming more environmentally conscious due to the increasing green movement, but more needs to be done. Canadian citizens still act as if we have an unlimited amount of water at our disposal; however, we certainly do not! Because we are so resource-fortunate, Canada is in a position to be the conservation role model for the rest of the world.

According to <www.waterrating.gov.au>, the average old-style, single-flush toilet uses 12 L of water in one flush. Dual-flush and water-saving toilets do aid in preserving water; however, many people do not have access to them or are not able to afford sustainable plumbing. Furthermore, if one does decide to switch to a water-saving toilet, the process is not just energy intensive but resource intensive as well. This is not to say people should not invest in these new toilets. Instead, we should use washrooms with a greater degree of consideration for the environment.

Luckily, there is a solution to help combat our issue of wasted toilet water. If individuals make the decision to not flush the toilet every time, a lot of this water could be saved. Due to our history of cleanliness, some may look down upon this idea. However, in high-traffic places such as malls, schools, amusement parks, stadiums, movie theatres, and transit stations, this problem would be insignificant because of the high volume of people using the facilities. Whenever a toilet is flushed, bacteria containing aerosols explode through the air. By flushing every second or third time we would drastically reduce the amount of possible bacteria in the air which can lead to illness. Not only can high traffic places be a great place for this to happen, but businesses and households should also implement this practice. The “where” is limitless. It just comes down to the will of the people.

Already many people are forced to conserve water. Those who obtain their water from wells have a limited amount accessible to them. If over pumping occurs, natural aquifers are not able to fully replenish themselves and will eventually dry out forever. Another great example of water conservation is the use of rain barrels. Many buildings have begun to incorporate barrels on their roofs as a source of water, which then fills toilets without the need for chlorine or ultraviolet treatments. Some municipalities charge citizens a water fee which can make them think more conservatively. Government cuts have made it difficult for the environmental sector to promote green initiatives as much as they would like to. Nevertheless, using simple marketing tactics such as displaying posters in washrooms can be effective. When somebody is sitting in the stall they have nothing to look at except the back of the door, which is a fantastic place to post these!

We can live without flushing the toilet one or two times. We cannot live without water. Water conservation is only going to become more important and all of us will have to take part in this. Reducing the amount we flush each day is the easiest way of saving water and does not cost us any money, in fact, it may put it back into our pockets. If we can break free from our unnecessary cleanliness practices, we will save millions of liters of water for when the crisis becomes ever more severe.

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