Saving water at home: good for the environment, good for your wallet

Brendan Schaefer helps deliver the WET program for local homeowners

Written by: Scott Cressman, Water Program Coordinator

The Region of Waterloo’s free Water Efficient Technology (WET) Program has helped save water since 2015. The program provides a visit from an expert advisor who reviews a home’s water use and gives personalized tips on the best ways to save. The Region operates the program with Reep Green Solutions, a local environmental organization. It’s just one way the Region is working to protect our local environment.

Many people can save significant water with a few simple changes, said Brendan Schaefer, a water advisor with Reep. “It’s very rewarding,” said Schaefer. “It’s something that has a big impact right away. There are simple solutions that can really make a huge difference for people.”

The Region has provided over 1,600 WET Home Reviews since the program launched. Schaefer is the friendly, knowledgeable water expert who has done about half of them. During each home visit, he inspects for common leaks, examines showerheads, toilets, water softeners and washing machines, and explains to homeowners how different behaviours impact water consumption.

No two houses are the same, but Schaefer often recommends switching to efficient showerheads and toilets, shaving a few minutes off your shower time or fixing leaky toilets.

This partnership between the Region and Reep Green Solutions has created significant benefits for the Region and its residents. Participating homes save an average of 80,000 litres per year, or over $400 (about 25%) off their annual water bill. The changes homeowners have made thanks to the WET Program are saving 130 million litres of water each year. And that number goes up with each home that benefits from the program.

Conservation is important because the Region of Waterloo draws most of our drinking water from underground wells. Using this resource efficiently means the community has enough groundwater available for future generations without building expensive new infrastructure.

Water conservation also saves energy, because it takes electricity to clean and pump water, so water efficiency helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve the Region’s climate change goals.

The WET program is free and available now to single-family homes with above-average water use. Learn more or request your free home review.