| Environmental Columns

Drinking water: a precious resource

Water is a resource we use every day, particularly in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. During hot summer days, our consumption increases with yard work and with the outdoor leisure activities we do to cool off. “Did you know that consumption of drinking water can double during the summer months due to its many outdoor uses?”1 [Translation]

Drinking water is a precious resource. Here are a few tips for consuming it responsibly:

Indoor consumption

  • Dishwashing – Wait until the dishwasher is completely full before turning it on. If you wash dishes by hand, fill the sink with water rather than letting the water run.
  • Food – Keep a carafe of water in the refrigerator. Soak your fruits and vegetables to wash them rather than rinsing them under running water.
  • Faucets – Turn the faucets off when you are soaping your hands, brushing your teeth or shaving. You can also install an aerator in the faucets to reduce your water consumption.
  • Bathroom – Reduce your shower time. Take a shower rather than a bath. You can also replace your showerhead with one that uses less water. When replacing your toilet bowl, choose a low-flow model.
  • Laundry – When using your washing machine, make sure it is filled to capacity.
  • Household appliances – Many appliances are Energy Star certified, which means that they save on water and energy.
  • Leaks – Repairing leaks saves thousands litres of water a year. “One drop of water leaking from your faucet per second represents one litre of water per hour, which is equivalent to 9,540 litres of water per year. Often, simply replacing the seal washer is all it takes to fix the problem.”2 [Translation]


Outdoor consumption

  • Rain barrel – Set up a barrel in your yard to collect rainwater and use it to water your flowerbeds and lawn. You can even use this water to wash your car. You can purchase a low-cost barrel at City Hall: Rain Barrel
  • Watering – It is recommended that you water early in the morning or after the sun has set to avoid water loss through evaporation—if watering is necessary.
  • Garden hose – Use a nozzle to limit water flow and direct the water to the desired location. If you can, set up a drip irrigation system, which saves a lot of water.
  • Swimming pool – To minimize evaporation, it is recommended that you cover your pool with a solar cover when it is not in use. This will also help to raise the water temperature.
  • Pool opening – To reduce water consumption during peak hours, fill your pool in the evening or at night.

You can evaluate how much drinking water you consume by looking at your annual water bill. It will tell you how much drinking water you consumed and you can evaluate the impact of the steps you have taken to reduce your consumption. This user-payer format encourages actions to limit wastage and conserve this precious natural resource.


1 Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation website https://www.mamh.gouv.qc.ca/infrastructures/campagne-mon-empreinte-bleue/trucs-et-astuces/ (in French)

2 Québec City website https://www.ville.quebec.qc.ca/citoyens/propriete/eau/utilisation-residentielle/index.aspx (in French)