Canada: the water hogs of the planet

Full disclosure: The unnecessarily belligerent title is a word-for-word quotation of a search string* that brought someone to We couldn’t resist using it as a punchy introduction, although Canada isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when we consider the term water hog. That distinction goes to the Dishonorable Chris G. Carlos, who until very recently was using up to 400,000 gallons of water a month– most of it to 1890_voyage_f59_fig16.jpgwater his verdant three-acre estate–in drought-stricken Atlanta, Georgia.

We have to accept–because Carlos said so through a public relations flack–that he wasn’t aware that there was a drought, and he promised to use less water going forward. Perhaps he was too busy inundating his property to notice that every lawn in Atlanta was brown except his.

We don’t want to offend our neighbors to the north, and note that even some Canadians call Canadians water hogs. And that’s OK, because it’s Canadian on Canadian. Take this blogger, for example. After stating that Canadians are indeed porcine in their hydrological consumption patterns, he notes that:

Apparently people in other parts of the country feel the same. In the world, Canada ranks second in water consumption, [ ed note: Guess which country ranks first. Hint: Chris G. Carlos lives there.] which is fine while we have it. . .there could be a time when we need to use or help others with our vast reserves.

As this cautionary article in a Canadian paper makes clear, not all is wet and wonderful in Canada. Sure, there’s a lot of water, but most of it is in the wrong place and flowing the wrong way, and there’s a host of other serious threats and problems. From the article:

And 60 per cent of Canada’s fresh water drains northward, away from where it is needed most – along the band hugging the U.S. border where the vast majority of Canadians live.


In Quebec, blue-green algae plagues lakes. St. Lawrence water levels were so low this fall that water had to be pumped in from Lake Ontario. Montreal’s crumbling pipes leak 40 per cent of their valuable cargo en route to taps. Water that reaches some Montreal homes has lead levels deemed potentially hazard to children under six.

Upstream, the Great Lakes Basin, the planet’s largest continuous body of fresh water, is surrounded by a huge population: 40 million people – one in three Canadians, one in 10 Americans. The lakes face growing demand from industry, power plants, farms and urban sprawl. Water levels are at historic lows in some Great Lakes.

*Another search string that brought some lucky googler to was Chris G. Carlos water using asshole.
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