Water Usage in University of Ottawa Essay
This report through the use of the 2012 Ottawa University Environmental journal database will examine current trends in water usage and consumption among members of the University of Ottawa community in order to determine whether their current level of water usage reflects trends seen in the greater whole of Canadas population and if the growing advocacy for water resource conservation actually affects the method in which they consume this particular resource.
By doing so the researcher was able to determine a common behavior between the two population sets where water is used the most with the resulting common denominator showing the current attitudes of students regarding water usage and how this translates into their future behavior as the primary water resource consumers of Canada.
This report then delves into the implementation of appropriate green technologies and ideologies in order to resolve the problem however based on the problems in implementation it is expected that sufficient implementation of appropriate mitigating technologies and ideologies wont happen with the current population but rather with the next.
This based off the ideas that the adoption of particular technologies and concepts (i.e. water conservation) can only occur over time and that their implementation in society cannot fully occur till the technology or concept i removes uncertainties attached to it.
Within the past few years Canada has been undergoing a subsequent shift in perception wherein the concept of environmental conservatism has not been limited to a select group of scientists, activists and members of the academe but in fact has developed a considerable following among members of local communities within the country resulting in the creation of the Canadian Green Movement (Berezan, 2011).
The concept of going green is based off the process of altering approaches towards the consumption and utilization of resources so as to ensure a more environmentally friendly method of usage and consumption (Strife, 2010).
The basis behind this is the assumption that since the Earth is a closed off ecosystem with a finite amount of resources if nothing is done to conserve and ensure these resources stay replenishable in the long run there may come a time when the Earth will no longer be able to support human civilization (Sustaining momentum, 2012).
Such an assumption is not without merit, as Canadas population continues to expand so too does localized demand for resources increase (Hanna, 1999). Unfortunately resources that command the highest demand (ex: fresh water) are only replenishable to a certain extent while others have a set amount (oil, gas and certain chemicals) and cannot be replenished at all (Unruh & Ettenson, 2010).
Advocates of environmental conservation such as former U.S. vice president Al Gore continue to reiterate the need to change the current rate and method of consumption so as to better utilize resources to ensure that they will continue to remain there for future generations.
It must be noted though that the concept of going green is not a recent trend rather it has been going since the early 1970s through the creation of various recycling programs and centers (Qi et al., 2012). Despite this, it has only been within the past decade that the concept of environmental conservation has entered into Canadian popular culture (Qi et al., 2012).
Of particular importance to the topic of resource conservation is the level of water resource consumption within Canada. Based on recent reports which have examined the daily domestic use of water within Canada it has been shown that Canadians use 329 liters through a variety of inconsequential and barely noticeable activities such as flushing a toilet, washing clothes, cleaning plates etc.
(Furlong & Bakker, 2011) Within a month this usage is equivalent to 9,870 liters and within a year this results in a grand total of 118,440 liters of water consumed per person. While it may be true that Canada possesses 20% of the worlds fresh water supply only 7% of it is renewable, the rest is stored in land locked glaciers and ice deposits making it inaccessible for a large portion of the year (Stonehouse, 1995) (Furlong & Bakker, 2011).
Another fact that should be taken into consideration is that despite Canadas declining birth rates the fact remains that through the governments immigration policy Canadas population has actually increased from 33,854,688 in 2011 to an estimated 34,788,000 in 2012 with the population expected to grow several million more by 2020.
With millions of individuals consuming 118,440 liters per year it will eventually come to a point that even the abundant renewable water resource of Canada will be stretched to its limit resulting in several water shortages occurring throughout the country (Canada, 2012).
Studies such as those by Chow et al. (2011) indicate that the main problem really isnt the growing population of Canada (though it is a contributing factor) but rather it is the way in which water is utilized within the country that worries many environmental conservatives (Chow et al., 2011).
For example, the average Canadian toilet utilizes 20 liters of water per flush when 6 liters is actually all that is needed (Perman, 2000). From the point of view of the researcher it is wasteful habits such as these that will contribute to a future water crisis within Canada.
In this regard, what will be explored in this particular report are current trends in water usage and consumption among members of the University of Ottawa community in order to determine whether their current level of water usage reflects trends seen in the greater whole of Canadas population and if the growing advocacy for water resource conservation actually affects the method in which they consume this particular resource.
It is expected that through this particular report the researcher will be able to determine the culture of consumption that will be prevalent among the next generation of Canadas resource consumers.
As such what will be explored are common trends in water consumption, where water is wasted the most and what current literature and trends say about the attitudes and processes that lead towards resource wastefulness.
For this particular report two data sets will be utilized, the first will be a which details that usage of water among Canadas general population while the second will encompass one of the latest data sets involving student responses from the (Eaton, 2009).
By examining both data sets the researcher will be able to compare the habits of current students within the University of Ottawa with their counterparts in the Canadian general population data set in order to determine whether there are similarities between the methods in which water is used between the two populations.
Moving on towards the second goal of this particular report, a comparative analysis will be conducted between the rate, method and type of consumption of the population sets involved and this will be set against the data of the Eaton (2009) study which analyzed the impact of water conservation methods on localized populations (Eaton, 2009).
Through this analysis what will be examined are consumption rates related to essential (ex: drinking water) and daily (ex: showering, washing plates, etc.) consumption and the amount of time each action utilizes. Taking this into consideration the researcher for this report has developed the hypothesis that a vast majority of the water usage done by either population set is at home and that it is here where the greatest amount of water wastefulness occurs.
Such an assumption is backed by studies such as those by Dolan (2000) that indicate that the greatest amount of water usage for individuals within most countries occurs indoors (i.e. washing clothes, using the bathroom cleaning plates etc.) (Dolan et al., 2000).
It is based on this that the method of examination utilized in this report will consist of investigating factors related to general population usage of water and student usage of water within the confines of the home/dorm/off campus residence and will try to find a common correlation of water usage within a particular area of a home where the greatest amount of water usage occurs.
The researcher suspects that by determining a common behavior between the two sets where water is used the most the resulting common denominator will be able to show the current attitudes of students regarding water usage and how this translates into their future behavior as the primary water resource consumers of Canada.