May 15, 2010
Landscape Ontario has joined a diverse coalition of environmental, industry, labour and community organizations under the name of The Ontario Water Conservation Alliance.

The Alliance has begun a public campaign to persuade the provincial government to include what it describes as strong conservation and efficiency themes in the proposed Water Opportunities Act. The new Alliance is also releasing its platform, entitled Conserve Our Water.

“Most of the Alliance’s goals resonate with the green industry,” says LO’s executive director Tony DiGiovanni. “We have to make sure that in an effort to conserve, everyone is aware that water is life and using it for growing purposes brings huge societal benefit. Our industry also has the tools to assist in the conservation effort.”

The Alliance came together after the Ontario government announced its plans for the Act as part of the speech from the throne. While supportive of the government’s intention to make water issues a public policy priority, the Alliance press release says it believes an environmentally sustainable and economically secure province requires a comprehensive water conservation and efficiency strategy.

“The goals of the Alliance resonate with us, however, we also need to ensure that there is sensitivity for the need to water landscapes,” says DiGiovanni.

LO’s executive director added, “It is ludicrous that we use treated water to irrigate our landscapes and at the same time waste most of the grey water that comes out of our homes and businesses.”

Landscape Ontario is part of a group known as the Green Infrastructure Coalition (GIO). The group is trying to raise awareness for the importance of green infrastructure and to influence public policy and legislation with this goal in mind. Members of the GIO are also involved in the Water Alliance.   

The Alliance’s platform is built on three key themes:

Setting meaningful targets and measuring performance
“Targets build momentum for improvement and accurate performance measurements ensure we succeed. Accountability can be maintained through mandatory monitoring and reporting of targets,” says the Alliance.

Requiring conservation plans, establishing efficiency standards and supporting green infrastructure
“Linking water conservation requirements explicitly to infrastructure grants will ensure we do not repeat past mistakes. In addition, land use planning, landscape design and building decisions should incorporate innovative water conservation, leafy green infrastructure and low impact development approaches,” suggests the Alliance’s press release.

Fostering market transformation and a culture of conservation
“The province should lead by example and ensure public sector buildings, operations and facilities initiate and embrace conservation plans and water efficient procurement policies. This would feed into a broader social marketing strategy with the goal of instilling a province-wide ethic of water stewardship,” states the Alliance.

An area of focus highlighted by the Alliance is the economic benefit from a strong government commitment to water conservation and efficiency. “The revenues of the world’s water-related businesses are expected to nearly double to $1-trillion by 2020 and global water shortages will drive the need for innovations that emphasize efficiency, reuse and source diversification.”

Over the coming weeks, the Alliance says it will release evidence of the economic, energy and taxpayer benefits that can be realized from a legislated commitment to water conservation and efficiency. The Alliance’s full platform, list of partners and opportunities for public engagement can be viewed at