PEI is dependent on groundwater for its freshwater needs. Because of this, our water use puts a strain on groundwater resources. With water meters now in nearly every home, we are working with the Town of Stratford to encourage changes in water use habits to reduce consumption. Reducing the amount of water being drawn out of the watershed ensures a clean and abundant source of water in the future. With funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Eco Action Community Fund, SAWIG is happy to be partnering with the Town of Stratford to launch the Water Audit Program. The Water Audit Program aims to improve the quantity and quality of local groundwater by reducing overall residential water use and preventing harmful substances (sediments) from entering waterways.
What is a water audit?
Water audits tailored to individual households will provide an opportunity for residents to learn about how they can use less water. Residential homeowners in Stratford with water meters can have a free water audit of their home. The water audit will determine how much water is being used in the home by looking at fixtures, such as shower heads and faucets, and household habits. Residents will also learn how to read their water meter and check for leaks. At the end of the audit households will receive a water score that rates their water usage. Based on the results of the water audit and water score a number of recommendations may be given to homeowners about ways they can reduce water usage such as:
- Change water use habits (shorter showers, turn the tap off when brushing teeth, etc.)
- Fix leaking faucets
- Replace fixtures with low-flow models
- Install faucet aerators to reduce flow
- Fix leaking toilets
- Replace dishwasher with an Energy Star model
- Replace clothes washer with a more water efficient model
Water audit process
Homeowners must be present during the water audit which will take approximately one hour to complete. To conduct the audit we will need access to your water meter and all faucets, showerheads, and toilets. During the audit we will:
- Look at your water meter to determine your average daily usage
- Teach you how to read your water meter and check for leaks
- Check all toilets for leaks
- Measure the flow volume of all fixtures in the house (showerheads and faucets)
- Ask questions about your household water use habits
- Share results, water score, and make recommendations for reducing consumption
Benefits of water audits
Information collected from water audits can provide valuable insight about Stratford Area residential water usage such as:
- The total & average daily consumption (lites/day) of all audited homes
- The total & average leakage rate of all homes audited
- The average water score of homes audited
- The average water use (litres/day) of a household size (1 person – 7 people)
These results can be used to inform future conservation initiatives and management of freshwater in the Stratford Area. Common areas of high water use and types of leaks may be observed allowing for targeted programs aimed at reducing water use such as the previous showerhead exchange program and toilet rebate program.
Protecting waterways in Stratford
As part of the program SAWIG will also undertake riparian buffer zone improvement work to protect and enhance freshwater and aquatic habitats in the Stratford Area. The quality of freshwater in Stratford has suffered due to excess amounts of sediment entering waterways. As a result of sediment-laden runoff into streams and wetlands we are seeing low levels of dissolved oxygen, high levels of phosphorous and high levels of total suspended solids. Sediment is coming from construction and development in the area as it enters waterways when soil is stripped bare and heavy rain events wash the fine silt particles into streams and wetlands. The soil in Stratford is also very susceptible to erosion, contributing to the ongoing issue.
To prevent sediment from entering waterways and improve water quality, native tree and shrub species will be planted. Over the course of three years we hope to plant 3000 native trees and shrubs in riparian buffer zones. Native trees and shrubs improve water quality by acting as natural filters trapping sediment laden water and absorbing nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous through their roots. Planting native trees and shrubs in riparian buffer zones will also help stabilize eroding banks and shorelines of streams.
If you want to know more about this project or to schedule your free water audit contact email@example.com
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