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Surrey students get wise about water

Woodward Hill Elementary received a visit from Surrey acting mayor Mary Martin for Drinking Water Week.
Grade Six Woodward Hill Elementary student Zoe Mills takes the Community Water Challenge with Surrey acting mayor Mary Martin in front of a “Wall of Water” with 426 water bottles representing the amount of water used by the average British Columbian every day.

It looked like enough water to last a whole classroom of children for weeks.

But the Grade 6 class at Surrey's Woodward Hill Elementary learned a surprising fact from acting mayor Mary Martin last week – that the wall of 426 one-litre water bottles in front of them represented the amount of water used by an average B.C. resident every day.

Martin was at the south Newton school Thursday to celebrate the official launch of the B.C. Water & Waste Association's Drinking Water Week by inviting students to take the Community Water Challenge.

The challenge – extended to all B.C. residents – includes five simple actions that can have a big effect on water quality and costs.

Students pledged to limit shower time to five minutes per day; to turn off the tap while brushing teeth or doing dishes; to encourage the installation of water-efficient  fixtures in the home; to not throw expired medications in the trash, toilet or down the drain; and to stop putting household waste – such as cleaners, paints and grease – down the drain or toilet.

Martin delivered a message to the children that good water habits begin early, while noting that, as students at a LEED gold-rated school, they are probably among the most water-wise in the province.

With standard features like low-flow taps and toilets, drought-resistant plants and holding tanks to collect the runoff from nearby hills, Woodward Hill is one of B.C.'s most environmentally sustainable schools.

But B.C. residents are still generally unaware of the processes that water goes through before it is delivered and deemed safe for consumption, according to BCWWA studies.

They are also, on average, likely to consume more than 100 litres more water per day than the national average.

According to BCWWA figures, Metro Vancouver's water system delivers an average of a billion litres per day – the equivalent of filling B.C. Place four times a day every day.


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