Charlottetown residents are slowly but surely flowing over to water conservation in their daily lives, says the municipality's Water and Sewer Utility project manager.
Mandatory water restrictions were imposed in September with the Winter River Watershed, the sole source of drinking water for city residents, hitting 98 per cent capacity in the summer.
Ramona Doyle was "really amazed'' by the number of calls to the municipality by people voicing their support for the move.
Some boasted of their own conservation efforts, such as using humidifier water to water plants.
Others called, practically every day, to draw attention to residents that were ignoring the restrictions.
"We didn't see it as tattling,'' said Doyle.
"We saw it as our customers reaching out and being on the same side as us. They're buying into it and it's becoming a little bit a part of their culture now.''
Changing water use behavior dramatically will not happen over one summer or over the course of one year, she adds. Rather, a major shift towards concerted water conservation will happen over a longer period of time.
"We grew up believing that it's very plentiful and that it doesn't matter how much we use,'' she said.
That simply is not the case, especially with climate change (Charlottetown and the rest of P.E.I. experienced a very hot, dry summer), and the increased growth in urban areas like the capital city.
To accommodate all Charlottetown residents, demand for water is typically 4.2 million gallons over a 24-hour period. The municipality, on average, has three million gallons in storage, with one third maintained at all times for fire safety.
Currently, each resident of Charlottetown on average uses 305 litres of water per day. That's almost double the amount of water used by each European per day.
That volume of water has to come down. Way down.
Doyle is doing her part to educate the public both on the need to conserve water as well as the many ways to achieve conservation.
She is speaking to students. She is speaking at town hall meetings. She will, in fact, speak on the city's water supply and conservation efforts, as she did Friday with Holland College students, to any sector willing to listen.
She was alarmed to hear some high school students talk of regularly taking 45-minute showers.
"It's a lot of water,'' she said.
On the flip side, others are offering encouraging tales of water conservation.
"I love hearing stories like 'I changed the time on my hot water so it changes to cold water,''' she said.
"I like to see people taking it into their own hands and see that it is important.''
Eddie Rice, chair of the Water and Sewer Utility with Charlottetown, told Holland College students Friday that the city will take water conservation into its own hands.
He promised that a mandatory water meter system, which would require consumers to pay for what they use, would by implemented by the municipality no later than 2014.
Doyle told The Guardian that residents would be held accountable for their water use under such a system.
"Meters make you aware of what you use,'' she added.