Majority Of Canadians (52%) Feel That They Do Enough To Conserve Water: Only 6% Think Consumers Are The Biggest Threat To Water Supplies

But while nine in ten (86%) feel that using a rain barrel is important for conserving water, only one in four Canadians (25%) actually own a rain barrel

Toronto, ON - The majority of Canadians (52%) think that they are generally making reasonable efforts to conserve water. According to a recent Ipsos Reid poll, conducted on behalf of Unilever, RBC, and the Canadian Partnership Initiative of the UN Water for Life Decade, also found that a mere 6% of Canadians think that consumers represent the biggest threat to Canada's freshwater supply. Instead, Canadians are likely to blame mass removal of water to the United States (28%) and run-off of pollutants from land to water (19%).

But while the vast majority of Canadians think it's important to use low-flow toilets with less water per flush (93%), low-flow shower heads (91%), and rain barrels (86%), they are not as committed when it comes to actually following through and making use of them (50%, 61%, and 25% respectively).

Thinking about how often they use their toilets, the average Canadian flushes 5.2 times per day. In terms of the kind of impact that rain barrels could have, it appears they could also contribute to saving water. The average Canadian waters their lawn 1.5 times per week in the summer months (June, July and August).

  • Canadians in British Columbia (2.0 times/week) water their lawn most frequently, followed by residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (1.5), Ontario (1.5), Alberta (1.3), Quebec (1.3), and Atlantic Canada (1.3).

Thinking about their shower usage, more than half of all Canadians (55%) correctly identified that a bath uses more water than a 10-minute shower. On average, Canadians spend 7.6 minutes in the shower.

  • Younger Canadians, aged 18 to 34 (9.6 minutes), take longer in the shower than Canadians between the ages of 35 and 54 (7.4 minutes) and those over the age of 54 (6.3 minutes).
  • Regionally speaking, Canadians living in Alberta (8.4 minutes) spend the longest in the shower, followed by residents of Ontario (7.8 minutes), Quebec (7.6 minutes), Atlantic Canada (7.6 minutes), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (7.1 minutes), and British Columbia (7.1 minutes).

When it comes to their purchasing decisions, Canadians appear to be giving the environment due consideration. Three in four (76%) say that they routinely spend more for environmentally-friendly products, with one in three Canadians (33%) spending about 10% more. Seven in ten (70%) actually say that freshwater conservation influences their spending on household products or appliances.

These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of Unilever, RBC, and the Canadian Partnership Initiative of the UN Water for Life Decade on 02/07, 2008. This online survey of 2,309 adult Canadians was conducted via the Ipsos I-Say Online Panel, Ipsos Reid's national online panel. The results are based on a sample where quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to Census data. Quota samples with weighting from the Ipsos online panel provide results that are intended to approximate a probability sample. An unweighted probability sample of this size, with a 100% response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of +/- _ percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

For more information on this news release, please contact:
Sean Simpson
Research Manager
Ipsos Reid
Public Affairs
(416) 572-4474

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Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

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