Wednesday, July 06, 2011

#3: Blog about the ending of the water ban in south Ottawa.

I am not sure why my husband asked me to blog about the water ban in Ottawa South – but he did, and so I will. His wish is my command. (Can you read sarcasm?) But the take I have on this issue is not likely to be one which would be popular in this city.

There was quite the stink when the water ban was imposed back on April 27 after the breakdown of a primary water main servicing the south end of Ottawa . The water ban was lifted on June 17, 2011 – less than 2 months later – meaning all water use is permitted, allowing such things as watering lawns and gardens, washing cars, filling pools and hot tubs, and that ridiculous wasteful practice of washing driveways.

Now I admit that my perspective might be a bit different if I actually lived in Ottawa South (as opposed to Ottawa Centre where we have had no bans on water usage), but it is certainly informed by having lived in countries such as Mali, Africa, where water is a scarce commodity, where we would walk to wells and pumps to draw water by hand and carry it home, where water was treated as the precious commodity that we in North America forget it is.

So forgive me, but I do not having a great deal of sympathy for those who were not able to water their lawns for less than two months, given that one in six people in the world lack access to safe drinking water (which Ottawa South residents continued to enjoy throughout the water ban) and that the daily per capita water consumption in North America is 350 litres – compared with 10 or 20 in other parts of the world such as sub-Saharan Africa. Forgive me if I fail to see a crisis in brown lawns and dirty driveways.

One good thing about the water ban – the City of Ottawa offered rebates on purchases of rain barrels. Wouldn’t it be great if because of this short-lived ban, people across the city actually started making long-term changes in their water consumption such as through the installation of water barrels?

Now I’m just talking crazy.

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