Monday, November 15, 2004

Water! Water everywhere! But not a drop to drink!

The following three pictures are copyright of the Oxford Canadian
World Atlas for Schools.

(I scanned 'em and threw 'em up here)

Canadians should consider themselves lucky. We've got a lot of water.
We never even think about where it comes from. Explore Canada's
water with me, will you?

Zoom on down to the third picture - Water Consumption - Various Countries.

It says there that Canada consumes only 1% of its fresh water supply.
Peanuts. We need never worry about where we're getting out water
from, cause we haven't even touched 99% of it. But thank GOD we're
not living in Qatar or Saudi Arabia. Qatar has to 85% of its water
(or, according to the graph, Qatar uses 660% of the water it has
available in its country... it's a net importer by a long shot).

But even more interesting is United Kingdom. The Brits have a similar
quality of life that Canadians have, yet they only use 507 cubic
metres per person per year, and Canadians use 1750 cubic metres per
person per year.

(And for a real kicker, check out Iceland. They have vast, untapped
glaciers and they still only use 350 cubic metres per person per year.
Of course, Iceland is a progressive country that uses geothermal
energy for most of its needs. But still... their conservation is

What is the UK doing that's so different? Why does it need so much
less water? Hard to say, but zoom over to the 1st picture for a
minute. It shows some water-consuming sectors and how much water they
naturally give back to the water tables.

A whopping 75% of water used in agriculture never returns to the water
table. That's pretty crazy. Based on these two graphs - is it safe
to say that Canada consumes so much water per capita due to our
farming practices? Maybe.... maybe.....

And for the scare factor - check out the middle picture - pollution.
If you click on it, it will open up a little bigger. Just make sure
you come back, though.

This map shows the various ways in which Canada and the US are
poisoning the Great Lakes. I especially like the option of "other
toxins." (Can I have some "other toxins" please? What? You're all
out? OK then, I'll take some pesticides.)

Unfortunately, this map doesn't show the extent to which the lakes and
rivers are polluted, just what is dumped (or flowing) into them.

Safe to say, though, that I'd rather not swim in Niagara river. Ugh.


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