December 15, 2015 / By: Sanokaji Karkee

Mainstreet’s water conservation strategies

Personal Interest
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Water is one of the six most drained natural resources by our seven billion people. Freshwater only makes up 2.5% of the total volume of the world's water, 97.5% of the water on earth is actually salt water. 70% of fresh water is in the form of ice and permanent snow, thus animal and man have access to less than 1% of earth's water; it isn't surprising that demand for water could soon exceed supply. The food and agriculture organization of the UN has predicted that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living with absolute water scarcity. More than 100 million people are drinking arsenic water, according to the census 2011. In Bangladesh alone 19 million people are drinking water with arsenic more than 50 ppb and 5 million people are drinking water with arsenic more than 200 ppb. Dublin conference held in 1992 had declared freshwater as a finite and vulnerable resource, essential to sustain life, development and the environment. Also, freshwater has economic value in all its competing uses and should be recognized as an economic good. Realizing water as finite and vulnerable resources Mainstreet has adopted water-saving strategies in its apartments.


Is Freshwater Scarcity an Issue for Canada?

Due to wide variations in seasonal and annual precipitations global distribution of freshwater is uneven. We are lucky that Canada is blessed with more freshwater than many other countries on the planet. Canada has plenty of lakes, rivers, and icefields. 9% of Canada's area is covered with freshwater and 2% is covered with glaciers and icefields, however, 60% of Canada's freshwater drains north, whereas, 85% of the population lives within 300 KM of the Southern border, therefore freshwater scarcity is an issue for Canada.


The Columbia Icefield is the largest ice field in the Rocky Mountains of North America. Located in the Canadian Rockies astride the Continental Divide along the border of British Columbia and Alberta.

Financial incentives and rebate programs for water saved, launched by various cities are great pieces of evidence that freshwater scarcity is apparent in Canadian cities. The City of Calgary has a water efficiency plan for 2033, according to the plan the water demand per capita per day has to be reduced by 30% in 30 years (from 2003). The city has a rebate program for low water consuming toilets, if the old 13 liters per flush toilet is swapped with a new 6 liter per flush toilet, the city will provide an incentive of $50.00 per toilet.


What we all should do?

As city denizen our responsibility is to conserve the water by the following methods:

  • Wash only full loads of laundry
  • Install low flow fixtures
  • Find and fix leaky toilets and faucets
  • Install a water monitor
  • Use a rain barrel to the garden (rainwater harvesting)
  • Recycle and reuse of greywater for flushing and gardening


How Mainstreet is contributing to water efficiency plans

Mainstreet Equity Corp. manages mid-market apartments in western Canada. We acquire underperforming apartments, renovate them and bring them back into the market with added value. While renovating the building we retrofit the building envelope for energy efficiency, also we swap out old water-guzzling fixtures with new modern high-efficiency low water use fixtures. We have swapped many old 13 liters per flush toilets with dual flush toilets. In dual flush toilet has two buttons, the first button flushes liquid waste with less water per flush and the second button flushes solid waste, this type of toilets consumes less than 6 liters of water per flush. Showering accounts for up to 20% of the average households indoor water usage. We are replacing old showerheads with ultra-low flow showerheads without compromising the performance. Dishwashers are another appliance which consumes enormous amounts of water, we have replaced old dishwashers with new energy star dishwashers which consume 15% less water and 5% less energy than conventional dishwashers.



At Mainstreet we monitor water consumption in every apartment on monthly basis, this monitoring helps us to trace out any leakage and also helps us to monitor the water saving due to swapping out of old water-guzzling appliances and fixtures.

Below is a table of water consumption pattern of a building monitored for one year. (Number of occupants: 78)Mainstreet-Equity-Apartments-water-saving

We will continue to search out new and inventive ways to do our part to conserve Canada's water supply.

Do you have any tips on how to reduce water consumption? Let us know so we can share this information.


Mainstreet Equity Corp. is a publicly-traded (TSX: MEQ) residential real estate company in Canada. Mainstreet currently owns and operates properties in Surrey, BC; New Westminster, BC; Abbotsford, BC; Calgary, AB; Cochrane, AB; Lethbridge, AB; Edmonton, AB; Fort Saskatchewan, AB; and Saskatoon, SK.

Mainstreet provides affordable, renovated apartment suites to Canadians, and is committed to creating real value without diluting shareholder interests.