Why we measure this
There is increasing pressure on Saskatchewan's water resources. Our population is growing, and people are moving from rural to urban areas. Economic growth and climate change also add to the strain, making this measure even more important.
Conserving our water makes economic sense. If water conservation can keep demand within the capacity of existing systems, expensive investments in new reservoirs and pipelines can be reduced or avoided. Pumping and treating water also consumes energy. Reducing the use of treated water cuts energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
This measure is also discussed in the province's Climate Resilience Measurement Framework annual reports.
What is happening
Saskatchewan water usage decreased in 2018, with residents using an average of 353 litres per capita per day (versus 364 litres per capita per day in 2017). The total volume of community water usage also decreased during the same period by 4.7 million cubic metres.
Further, in the last 30 years, the total community water consumption showed general stability, but with a general decrease for usage rates (litre per capita). The decline in usage rates could have resulted from technological investments (e.g. new water mains and high efficiency plumbing fixtures) and behavioural influences on water use.
Usage rates in smaller communities are more variable, with the smallest communities trending to increasing usage. This is likely due to improvement in the security of their water supplies, or the transition to other water treatment technologies with higher raw water requirements (e.g. reverse osmosis). Small communities are also more likely to see increases in per capita use as a result of declining population. That is, the water used for municipal services and commercial operations may not decline, but will be spread over a smaller population base.
What we are doing
The Water Security Agency continues to promote responsible water use through public education, partnerships and a variety of programs. Water rates set by waterworks owners that recognize the true and full cost of system design, construction, operation and maintenance also help promote water conservation.