Water consumption: Best practices for reducing waste

Sewer backups, greenhouse gases, polluted waterways: Our water consumption habits have significant environmental consequences. But by changing certain behaviours, residents can help reduce waste and improve our living environments.

The consequences of overconsuming water

Sewer backups and overflows

Our water consumption habits and the growing frequency of intense rainfall events serve to increase the volume of water entering our sewer network. 

The network is sometimes overloaded, which causes local flooding and sewer backups. These overflows give rise to significant economic losses, both for the city and for disaster victims.

Montréal is investing in the construction of retention basins and green infrastructures to collect stormwater and thereby mitigate these problems. However, these solutions have their limitations and alone cannot provide relief across the network. Overflowing waterways remain a regular occurrence, and they impact our flora and aquatic wildlife.

Greenhouse gases

The water we consume must be put through a wastewater treatment process. This process requires considerable energy, which increases the production of greenhouse gases (GHG) that are harmful to the environment. 

New and more efficient processes have been put in place, and Montréal is actively working to improve its facilities. But these efforts must be paired with a reduction in our water consumption in order to reduce GHG emissions.

How to reduce water waste

We must collectively change the way we use water so as to reduce overconsumption and its impacts on the environment. The following solutions are a perfect place to start.

Water-efficient equipment

You can reduce the amount of water you consume by choosing water-efficient household equipment and appliances:

  • Toilet: Err in favour of a low-flow model. If your toilet is leaking, repair it.
  • Shower: Opt for a low-flow shower head.
  • Faucets: Make sure they are equipped with aerators.
  • Washer and dishwasher: Favour Energy Star-certified models.
  • Air conditioning and other cooling appliances: Replace appliances that use drinking water with air cooling models or models with a recirculation loop.

Everyday actions

There are several actions that we can take in our daily lives to curb water waste. Changing certain habits will allow you to significantly reduce your water consumption.

Change your watering schedule

Did you know that when you water your plants in the middle of the afternoon, an average of 60 per cent of the water is lost to evaporation? Instead, try watering your plants early in the morning or in the evening, in accordance with the applicable regulations.

Recover rainwater

Recover the water from your gutters to use on your plants. Install a rain barrel at the end of your gutter and redirect it towards your plants to give them water.

Use a bucket or a broom to clean

Do not use a garden hose to clean your driveway or your car. Fill a bucket with water and use a broom for household cleanup operations.

Turn off the tap

Turn off the tap when washing at the sink or washing your hands. When doing the dishes, fill up the sink rather than leave the water running.

Keep the water in your pool

Recover water from melted snow to fill your pool, by opening it in early spring and not emptying it. Don’t forget to use a solar blanket to avoid evaporation and prolong your swimming pleasure.