Water Recycling

Teresa Madaleno

Canada has always been envied for it’s abundant water resources, as well as the high quality of water it has, but like many countries, global warming threatens the water supply so government officials are looking at ways to manage our water resources from an economic and ecological stand point.

The United States is already in the midst of fighting the repercussions of climate change and a strained water system. Drought has forced some states to set strict water use regulations. California is a good example. As the warmer months approach, other states and other countries are looking at what California did last year. 2015 became the year that recycled water became “cool” in what is popularly referred to as “The Golden State”.

With hot, humid temperatures leading counties to ban watering, dozens of California water agencies opened up recycled water-fill stations. This allowed residents to collect treated wastewater in jugs or tanks for free. It was a lifesaver for drought-ridden areas. Some people brought big tanks in a pick-up bed to haul away large amounts of water they could use to quench parched landscapes.

According to county websites, essentially the recycled water is treated sewage. Yes, it is the same stuff that people flush down toilets. It is treated to the point where it has been filtered and disinfected. While it is not suitable for drinking, it is suitable for landscape irrigation.

When a person first attends a California water-fill station they get a short education about where the water came from and how to use it safely. The State went from one fill station and a couple dozen users to 22 recycled water stations and thousands of users.

Florida is another U.S state that has done a lot of work with water recycling. Utility experts in Florida have helped food producers who have been impacted by water issues, implement technology that allows for the use of reclaimed water. Through a program called, the Cooperative Funding Initiative, the Southwest Florida Management District has been involved with 360 reuse projects aimed at developing recycled water systems.

Last summer, government officials declared parts of Western Canada’s agricultural base a “disaster” when drought plagued the area. While crop insurance is helpful in situations where times are tough for farmers, it isn’t always enough, as was the case with the drought of 2015.

It wasn’t just farmers who felt the impact of the dry weather. Forest fires were a problem in Western Canada last year and water flows in B.C rivers hit record lows.

The governments efforts to act while the drought was happening was another case of “too little too late”, thus pushing Canadians to call for pre-emptive action as we move forward from season to season.