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How Plumbing Saves Your Life

In Canada, it’s easy to take plumbing for granted. For most Canadians, plumbing is something that is always available. But in many countries in the world, access to clean, safe plumbing facilities is a luxury.

In honour of World Plumbing Day, which takes place on March 11, we’ve put together some info that shows how important plumbing is, and how sadly rare it is in certain parts of the developing world. We hope you enjoy it, and please take the time to donate to your favourite charity on March 11.

How Plumbing Saves Your Life

Plumbing is important, but we take it for granted. In Canada, we’re able to just turn on a tap and get safe, drinkable water. We only have to flush the toilet and our waste is carried away.

It’s not like this everywhere.

The Global Picture

Every day, many people around the world get extremely ill and even die because they don’t have access to clean water and proper sanitation.

  • 90% of all deaths are related to lack of clean water and sanitation.
  • That’s 3.1 million people every year – mostly children under 5.
  • 1 in 6 people worldwide cannot get access to water that’s safe to drink. In sub-Saharan Africa, it’s 1 in 2.
  • 1.2 billion people live without any sanitation facilities at all. Over 2.6 billion people have rudimentary facilities that are not sanitary.
  • 4.1 billion hours a year – That’s how much time is spent by African women and girls walking to sources of water and carrying it home.
  • 90% of water needs are related to growing food.

The Invisible Culprits

You can’t see them, but these microbes are in unsanitary water:

  • E. coli
  • Salmonella typhi
  • Schistosoma
  • Cholera vibrios
  • Hepatitis A

Don’t Take Plumbing For Granted

Water is a precious resource – treat it like one. You’ll save money while you’re at it.

  • Get leaky plumbing fixed – 1 drop per second wastes almost 20,000 liters in one year.
  • Fix or replace leaky toilets – if you can hear your toilet constantly running, you’re wasting 100,000 liters of water a year or more.
  • Install a low-flow toilet. Modern ones use less than 5 L per flush unlike old ones that flush 13L or 20 L every time.
  • Install a low-flow showerhead. A standard showerhead uses 100 liters of water in 5 minutes. Low-flow versions use around 35 liters.
  • Choose plants that are drought-tolerant for your garden. If you need water, do it in the early morning or late at night so the sun doesn’t evaporate it away.
  • If you can afford to, donate to a water-related charity like Ryan’s Well or Charity: Water.

Water and Plumbing Holidays

Take a moment to think about how precious water is. These holidays will remind you:

  • World Plumbing Day is March 11.
  • UN World Water Day is March 22.
  • April 25th is Hug a Plumber Day.


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