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World Water Day encourages nature-based solutions

Rain barrel outside of Loyalist College. Photo by Rachel Bell, QNet News.

By: Rachel Bell [1]

BELLEVILLE – World Water Day is celebrated every March 22 to remind people how threatened the world’s water supply is, and to help preserve it.

This year’s theme is ‘Nature for Water [2],’ meaning exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges in the 21st century.

For decades now, people have been collecting water using rain barrels, which allows it to be reused. 

Larry Pomerantz, owner of rainbarrel.ca [3], a Hamilton, Ont. online company which sells barrels, says they have many purposes.

“They collect free water – free rain water coming off of a roof, it doesn’t have any fluoride or chlorine in it, so it’s actually better for your plants and vegetables,” he said. 

Pomerantz says rain barrels help the environment by helping keep water out of the storm sewers.

“By slowing water down, by holding it in a rain barrel, we can release it a little bit later, and onto permeable surfaces, where it can soak into the ground and basically get filtered,” he said.

Pomerantz said he believes preserving our water supply is extremely important.

“It’s very important, only a small percentage of water in the world is fresh water,” he said. “You just have to look to current news stories. For example, in South Africa, a major city down their has water shortages, and they have water shortages in California. There’s cities out there actually recycling their toilet water, and making it back into drinking water. That’s how scarce fresh drinking water can be.”

There are all types of things people in the Belleville area can do to help preserve water. Leah Pomerantz, also part of  rainbarrel.ca, says people may not be aware of how useful the barrels can be.

Canadians can use small-scale practices carried out around the house to conserve and protect water sources. Most of us are well-informed about the benefits of turning off the tap and taking shorter showers, but fewer people may realize that every rainfall presents its own opportunity for conscientious water stewardship.”

Rain barrels also come in handy when we have excessive amounts of rain, said Larry Pomerantz.

“Toronto has had flooding in the past, Calgary had major flooding. And with flooding, it can wipe out crops and things like that. So it can effect our food and grain supply,” he said. “So you’ve got both ends of it, flooding and drought, so water is a really important asset, and we have to manage it and conserve it.”