Region's Corporate Water Consumption
What is the indicator and why measure it?
Within the Region's various facilities, a significant amount of water is consumed as part of daily operations programs and services. Corporate water use includes consumption from Regional office buildings, fleet centres, maintenance facilities, Regional libraries and daycares, Regional housing, Sunnyside retirement facility, Emergency Medical Services and Police facilities. Consumption data is measured in cubic metres or litres and in some cases can be associated with the number of building occupants to further assess efficiency in service. Design and construction of water efficient facilities as well as occupant education help reduce the water demand per person. Although the Region's direct water consumption is included in the Community Water Consumption indicator, it is important to monitor separately in order to demonstrate leadership and corporate responsibility towards collectively optimizing the use of water resources.
Water reduction target
The interim goal for corporate water consumption in Regional buildings is to maintain year 2004 levels. This will be challenging as thousands of square metres in new building space has been added each year and is expected to continue for several years. The improvement from 2006 over 2005 consumption levels is a result of major retrofits in Waterloo Regional Housing units using low-flow toilets and water efficient shower heads. In 2011, some leaks and water line issues related to construction and renovation of Regional facilities created a spike in consumption.
Water efficiency in Regional buildings
The Region's corporate water consumption is influenced by the Region's commitment to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and water efficiency measures such as installation of low flow toilets, waterless urinals, tap aerators and bio-swales. Despite 16% growth in building area, water efficiency has remained relatively close to the 2004 value, with an improvement of 14% by 2013.
Rainwater harvesting system.
A rainwater harvesting system was installed for the washing of GRT buses. Two tanks with a total capacity of 200,000 litres collect rain water from 250 Strasburg and 85 Chandler. This system will become functional in 2014 after connections are completed. It is estimated this system will save 5 to 7 million litres of water each year, attributing to $15,000 to $20,000 to be saved annually. More accurate savings would be calculated in a few years after data becomes available.