Letter: The great Summerland water shutdown

So, folks Of Summerland, we have a very odd situation in the making.

Most people do not realize just how much water we consume each day, so, you folks of Summerland, let’s look at about how much you will need to have on hand to survive the Great Summerland water shutdown next March.

Based on Okanagan Basin Water Board data the average indoor per person use of water is around 150 liters per day, and that amounts to a total of 450 liters per person for the three day shutdown. The average household in Summerland has 2.36 people, so the three day total required per household for this model is 1062 litres or 233 gallons.

The average bathtub can hold about 190 liters, and if used for toilet flushing only based on a 10 litre average of new and old fixture flush usage, you will get a total of 19 flushes from a tubfull. Each person averages five flushes per, day and at 2.36 average people per residence, that totals 11.8 flushes per day. So you can see that a tubful of water will only do the average household 1.6 days, or around half of the shutdown period.

Surprised at this? Well, most people usually are. This is a model based on averages of use and capacities relevant to the Summerland situation, and will give a good idea of the dimension of the challenge we will face.

However, it does not take into account reductions from emergency water use measures that we would employ, but even taking this into account, it is still daunting. Given such measures as doing laundry before the shutdown, cooking ahead and using ready to eat market food so that only reheat is required, using disposable plates and cups, sponge off only personal hygiene, flushing only when you absolutely have to, (and remember folks, the water goes in the tank, not the bowl).

So even if we cut our consumption by half you will still require  117 gallons weighing  1170 lbs. 117 gallons equals 2.6  forty five gallon drums for the average household. The math for a family of four or five gets shocking. So, folks Of Summerland, we have a very odd situation in the making. Can you recall ever having heard of anything similar to this in your lifetime? Just a three-day water shutdown?

Roy Roope

Summerland