Water is directly affected by climate change from changing weather patterns such as droughts, more frequent storms and flooding. Water is also indirectly affected by climate change from increased energy demands –water for hydro-power projects, oil and gas extraction and processing. This relationship between energy and water is referred to as the water-energy nexus, and it threatens our sensitive lakes, streams and groundwater. We must become better caretakers of our water, whether it is used for drinking, industry, or agriculture purposes, and assess opportunities associated with efficiency and conservation. Water efficiency asks how we use water and conservation asks why we use water.
Through discussions with water leaders across the province, we learned that every community in Nova Scotia deals with unique challenges and opportunities around their water and water services that reflect landscape, economy, socioeconomics and other factors. Communities that show leadership and innovation around implementing conservation and efficiency initiatives can effectively address unique conditions, and reduce demand on water resources and on the provincial energy grid. Despite developing effective and innovative solutions for reducing consumption and improving efficiency, many of our communities have water consumptions and leakage rates that exceed Canadian averages.
The stories in this report are shared to (i) Recognize the many paths toward progress in water management across the province; (ii) Ask provincial and municipal governments to expand water metering across the province in order to better assess and manage water resources; (iii) Explore effective solutions used across the province; and (iv) Reward communities for measurable reductions in energy use for services, and increased water conservation.
This report was generously supported by grants from Efficiency Nova Scotia, and the Nova Scotia Department of Energy. Special thanks to the advisory group for this project: John Aguinaga, David Brooks, Raymond Cote, Karen Daniels, and Jocelyne Rankin for their guidance and support for this report. Thanks also to Stu Campana for careful feedback and editing of this document.
Want to learn more?
 Brooks, D.B. “Water Use Efficiency and Water Use Conservation”. Canadian Water Resources Journal (2005), vol 30, issue 3, 263-264.
Water for Energy. International Energy Agency.
Municipal Water Priorities Report. Canadian Water Network. 2014.
Canada’s Drinking Water Report Card. Ecojustice. November 2011.
Ontario’s Water Energy Nexus. The POLIS Water Sustainability Project. 2010.
Nova Scotia Office of the Auditor General. Environment: Public Drinking Water Supply Program. 2014.
Environment Canada. 2011 Municipal Water Use Report – Municipal Water Use 2009 Statistics.
Ontario's Water-Energy Nexus. 2010. Polis Project on Ecological Governance.