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Water taps: The invisible cost that will run you dry

By: Margaux Berry

As condo board president of 68 Abell St. condominium in Little Portugal, Toronto, I know a thing or two about building operations. You might be surprised that the biggest invisible cost is water. In 2019, the average household of three people in Toronto used 630 litres of water per day. That’s like using as much water as a grown adult polar bear by weight every single day.  

Now I don’t measure water usage at 68 Abell St. in polar bears, but I do look at how much the property allocates in fees every year to cover water costs. 

I know that residents can play a tremendous role in helping decrease water usage just by changing their at-home water consumption habits. Here are a few ways I recommend mitigating water waste in your condo.

For Managers: 

  • Use an aerator on all taps, reduce water usage and increase pressure
  • Turn off water when brushing your teeth!!! This is a big pet peeve of mine.
  • NEVER TOUCH THE SPRINKLER. Don’t even look at it. Breaking a sprinkler can cost you thousands of dollars in damages (e.g. flooding) and waste up 75–150 litres/min, per sprinkler. 

For Residents: 

  • Shower rather than take a bath and install an efficient showerhead. 
  • Wash your laundry in colder water.
  • Never flush wipes, flushable cat litter, hygiene products down the toilet. This can cause blockage in the building’s pipes and damage hardware. It’s a costly fix and puts your property’s entire water system at risk of flooding.  
  • If you have a dishwasher use it. A dishwasher emits 63 per cent fewer emissions in its entire lifecycle than a typical sink and can save up to 18,000 litres of water per year. 

Sure, turning off light and electronics is a solution for saving energy too, but water is one of the most essential natural resources on earth. We should do our part to take care of it more – even if it’s from within the residential buildings we live in.  

Preserving water is easier than we think. With a few smart solutions, creative thinking and engaging your condo community, we can all work a little harder for our wallets and our planet. 

Margaux Berry is the president of a condo board located in the heart of Little Portugal, Toronto, Ontario