With quarantine and heat waves boosting water use, Quebecers are asked to cut back
It turns out that people in quarantine drink more water -- or at least they're consuming more one way or another, and doing so at home rather than at work.
That's one of the main reasons various communities across Quebec are asking residents to restrict their water use right now.
Combined with heat waves, the COVID-related spike in demand is maxing out the water supplies of places like Longueuil, the West Island and some small towns, says Mathieu Laneuville of the Réseau Environnement, a nonprofit.
The pandemic water spike is a worldwide phenomenon, however. The American Water Works Association recently found there's been a 10 per cent uptick in residential water consumption, Laneuville said.
In Quebec, the heat waves have led to double the normal demand.
"A lot of municipalities in the province are in trouble a little bit," he said.
Globally, there are other reasons for pressure on water supplies, especially the much more frequent droughts that come with climate change.
But in Canada, Quebecers have long been the biggest consumers of water among the provinces for their own reasons, Laneuville said.
Quebec has managed to drop its water consumption significantly in recent years, but it's still the highest in Canada, he said.
One good rule of thumb right now, if you have a lawn, is to water it no more than once a week, Laneuville said. Grass is quite drought-resistant, and even if it starts to look a little yellow, it will still be alive and can be revived easily later, he said.
This is also a good time for people to check if they have any leaky toilet valves and fix them.