Be Water Wise
Follow these seven simple water saving tips on hot summer days:
- Use only what you need. Your lawn only needs 1 inch of water per week to stay healthy. You can use a tuna can to test how long your sprinklers need to run; set the can in your sprinkler zone and time how long it takes to fill.
- Water early in the day. When temperatures heat up and the sun is high in the air, water evaporation is at its peak. By watering in the morning, you ensure that more of the water you expend soaks into your lawn and garden.
- Recycle rainwater. Install a rain barrel to collect rainwater for use on your lawn or garden.
- Fix drips. Leaking taps, hoses and sprinklers can add up to substantial water loss if left. Check washers and connections frequently, and repair hoses that are in need.
- Use mulch. By applying a two-inch layer of mulch to flower beds and around shrubs, you can slow water evaporation and suppress the growth of weeds.
- Sweep instead of spray. Instead of grabbing the hose to clean yard debris for patios and decks, grab a broom. Not only will you save water, but you’ll also give our body the gift of exercise!
- Landscape mindfully. Instead of living with existing slopes in your yard, which can be difficult to irrigate and lead to runoff, consider planting ground covers or shrubs which will help keep water within the soil. Native plants will be both effective and affordable.
Why be water wise?
There are a number of reasons to be water wise. For example, being stewards of our water:
Helps preserve and protect our precious resource.
In 2015, Saskatoon residents used 223 litres of water per person per day for household uses, comparable to the Canadian average of 235 litres. Approximately half of our city’s water is used by the residential sector.
That’s a lot of water! Where is it all going?
Water use can increase by as much as 50% during the growing season for outdoor watering. And while gardens and lawns do require watering, water is often wasted due to over-watering and evaporation. Lawn areas have the highest water demand, so reducing the amount of turf area you have will have the highest impact on your water usage.
Indoors, showers and baths use the most water, followed closely by toilet flushing and laundry. To lower your water bill, fix leaks quickly, install high-efficiency faucets, upgrade to low-flow toilets, and only do laundry when you have enough for a full load.
Water that comes from your taps, shower faucets, toilet tanks, and garden hoses is first cleaned and treated at the Water Treatment Plant. Any water that goes down the drain is then cleaned and treated again before it returns to the river.
A significant amount of energy is required to treat, distribute, and manage our water and our wastewater. By reducing your water consumption, you help conserve energy use, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help ease the burden on our water and wastewater treatment plants and distribution systems.
Saves you money.
Although we as Canadians pay some of the lowest water rates in the world, there is still a cost associated with the amount of water we use. Saving money is as simple as reducing your water use around your home and yard.
Preserves our water systems.
During periods of high water demand, the water treatment plant and distribution systems are in high use. Peak demand for water in Saskatoon is above the national average and is the largest contributor to current water capacity issues. Peak demand is primarily associated with outdoor water use in hot, dry conditions.
Water conservation efforts will help increase the lifespan of our current water treatment and distribution infrastructure, provide financial savings in the form of deferred capital expenditures, and prevent potentially negative impacts on the South Saskatchewan River.
To learn more about how to protect our river and water supply, view our Importance of Water video.
Rain barrel rebate and how-to tips
Want to start collecting rain water to use in your yard? Read our Rain Barrels: How-To Guide to learn how to get started.
We also offer $20 rebates to Saskatoon residents who purchase a rain barrel or compost bin from a Saskatoon retailer. Your household is eligible for one rebate per item per year. The receipt must be included with your completed Rebate Form. To apply, please fill out the online rebate form.
Conserving water in your home
There are many ways to reduce water use around your home. For example:
- Install low-flow fixtures, such as high-efficiency shower heads and low-flush toilets.
- Shorten your shower time and reduce the level of water when bathing.
- Reduce your number of laundry loads and only run full loads.
- Fix leaks as soon as you notice them. Fixing leaks could save you about 10 percent on your water bill.
- Wash your car at the car wash. Washing your car at home with a hose for 10 minutes uses 300 litres of water and sends soap, oil and other chemicals to the river through our storm drains. At a car wash, run-off is captured and disposed of properly. If you do wash your car at home, use a bucket of soapy water and use a nozzle to stop the flow of water from the hose between rinses.
- Use a broom when cleaning your driveway or walkway instead of a hose. This will save approx. 200 litres of water.
- Know where your master water shut-off valve is located in case of emergency.
For more tips, view our Be Water Wise flyer.
What you can expect from us
We are committed to ensuring good stewardship of our water resources and the environment by conserving water in our operations. For example, we are:
- Implementing an Automated Irrigation Management System (AIMS), which reduces water use for irrigation purposes across the city. The system is capable of detecting soil moisture conditions and adjusting irrigation schedules to conserve water.
- Expanding our use of raw water from the river to irrigate areas such as City golf courses (which results in cost and energy savings due to less use of treated water).
- Increasing the Naturalization Program for parks, which reduces the costs of installing and maintaining irrigation systems, reduces energy use and GHG emissions by not mowing, and reduces fertilizer application. Naturalized areas provide additional environmental benefits including erosion control, wildlife habitat, groundwater recharge, and carbon sequestration.
- Including water efficient systems in our new buildings. For example, the Access Transit Bus Garage uses approx. 2/3 less water than a conventional building because high efficiency water fixtures were installed and rainwater is harvested from the roof for the bus wash, toilets and irrigation. Plants selected for landscaping around the building are all drought tolerant species that require very little water.