Conserve Water & Manage Your Bill
Why do we need to conserve water?
Water treatment and distribution rely heavily on an extensive and costly infrastructure system to serve not only City of Red Deer residents, but also over 1,700 businesses and over 25,000 customers from surrounding communities including Red Deer, Lacombe, Blackfalds and Ponoka. Treating and pumping water requires about 17 million kilowatt hours per year – enough energy to power approximately 375,000 households in a year! In conserving water, we are helping to reduce future infrastructure and energy costs associated with water treatment and distribution. Reducing our energy use also helps to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.
As our population increases so does our community’s overall demand for safe drinking water. Climate change impacts, including future droughts and water shortages, will have an even greater impact on our water supply. Conserving water today prepares us for the future.
Conserving water can help keep your utility bill low. Overconsumption of water, leaky faucets and toilets, or damaged water meters can all have an impact on your water bill.
Water Conservation Guidelines
Did you know that The City of Red Deer has Water Conservation Guidelines from May to October? Click here to learn more.
How much water do we use?
In 2016, Red Deerians used an average of 192 litres per person per day. According to the American Water Works Association, one quarter of water used in your home is from toilet flushing. Come summer, water use can increase dramatically, due to lawn and garden watering, power washing, and other outdoor water use activities.
Indoor water use (courtesy of Water Research Foundation):
- Toilets – 24%
- Showers – 20%
- Clothes washer – 17%
- Dishwasher – 1%
- Faucet – 19%
- Bath - 3%
- Leaks – 12%
- Other – 4%
What can we do?
Conserving water doesn’t have to be complicated. Check out the tips below for simple actions you can take to conserve water in and around your home. Plus, you can see savings on your utility bill.
- Keep a jug of chilled water in the refrigerator rather than running water until it is cold.
- Wash fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water rather than running water in the sink. Reuse the wash water for watering plants.
- Run the dishwasher and washing machines only when they are full.
- If hand washing, fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water rather than letting the water run from the tap while washing dishes.
- Check your toilets or faucets for leaks, and repair as needed. See What Causes a Leak
- Flush the toilet only when necessary.
- Replace high-flow toilets with low-flow ones. See the Toilet Rebate Program for more information.
- Use low-flow showerheads and install aerators on faucets.
- Do not leave water running while brushing your teeth or shaving.
- Install a hot water recirculating system that gives you hot water immediately, rather than having to leave the tap running to warm up the water.
- Going on a vacation? Shut off your main water valve. This will also prevent water damage in your home while you are away.
- Did you know that your water meter can indicate whether there is a water leak?
- Leave grass clippings on your lawn. Clippings are 85 per cent water, reducing the need for watering.
- Mow your grass only when needed. Taller grass shades the soil, retaining moisture.
- Water your lawn infrequently and in the morning to prevent evaporation. If your lawn turns brown in dry and hot temperatures, this is normal. Lawns in a dormant state will become green when wetter, cooler weather returns.
- Use a rain barrel to capture rainwater and re-use it for lawn or plant irrigation. See the Rain Barrel Rebate Program for more information.
- Adjust sprinklers to ensure that only your lawn is watered – not the house, sidewalk, or street.
- Check any outdoor faucets, sprinklers and hoses for leaks and repairs as needed.
More outdoor water conservation tips can be found at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
What is The City doing?
The City is constantly striving to find ways to reduce water consumption at our facilities. The Recreation Centre and downtown RCMP buildings are certified LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Silver, while many of our other facilities include:
- Waterless urinals
- Low-flow toilets and taps
- Water-efficient landscaping
- Rainwater harvesting and re-use
- Monthly leak detections
- Hot water pipe insulation
- Water conservation signage in bathrooms and lunchrooms
The City of Red Deer Environmental Master Plan outlines a target to reduce per capita potable water 15 per cent in 2020, and 25 per cent by 2035 (based on baseline levels in 2009).
As our community develops and grows, so does the need to safeguard the resources that are crucial to our growth and the environment that surrounds us. The Water Conservation, Efficiency and Productivity Plan 2016-2035 (pdf) builds on the Environmental Master Plan’s water use targets and provides greater detail about the initiatives that The City will implement to further cut water usage.
Existing Water Conservation Programs
The City offers the following water conservation programs to help residents achieve water conservation:
Simple Things You Can Do To Manage Your Water Bill
Ensure your bill is accurate
- Compare your remote read (outside of house) to your water meter read (usually basement). The numbers should be the same. If not, contact us as you may be billed incorrectly. This should be done every three months.
Prevent water loss
- Repair leaky faucets and running toilets
- A steady faucet drip can waste 55 litres of water a day
- A faucet leaking at a steady small stream can waste 1,460 litres of water a day
- A leaking toilet can waste 4,300 of water a day
- Check for hidden leaks. Your water meter reading should not change from when you go to bed and when you get up (before using water).
- Upgrade toilets, faucets and shower heads to low-flow.
- A five minute shower with a standard shower head uses 65 litres of water more than a low-flow shower head
- Upgrading your toilet and qualify for our rebate program
- Collect water in rain barrels for outdoor watering in the summer and consider Naturescaping your yard
- Use water efficient appliances
Want more conservation tips?
- See Environment Canada – Water Wise http://www.ec.gc.ca/eau-water