Did you know?

According to Statistics Canada, almost three quarters of Canadians believe they use 60 liters of water for their personal daily use and even more if you water your garden (read some tips on water conservation). The reality is that we use almost 6 times that, with the average Canadian consuming 328 liters per day! Canadians are among the highest water users in the world – second only to the United States.

The goal of ActionH20 is reduce Canadians’ water use by mobilising grassroots groups working on water issues across the country to promote new conservation- and efficiency-based approaches to water management that are adopted by local governments. This bottom-up effort has huge potential to change how water is managed across the whole country! It’s time for ActionH20.


Sierra Club Canada and the POLIS Water Sustainability Project launched ActionH20 on World Water Day, March 22nd, 2010. This multiyear community-based water conservation project aims to “save litres” by “cultivating water leaders” in communities and local governments across Canada through a focused outreach and engagement campaign.
Learn more about the ActionH2O campaign…

WaterSmart Toolkit

WaterSmart Toolkit

Developed from six years of POLIS Water Sustainability Project practice and research, the WaterSmart Toolkit offers practical resources for community water conservation. The Toolkit supports communities transition from supply-side management to long-term integrated water conservation planning. It is designed to help municipal staff and community leaders plan and implement effective conservation initiatives that will work to ensure a sustainable water future.


Water Conservation Planning Guidebook

Our Water Conservation Planning Guidebook seeks to enhance local government capacity for effective water conservation planning by summarizing core research on water-wise strategies and practices in an easy to use guidebook.

Whether you know a little or a lot about water conservation, this guidebook is designed to help users develop a water conservation plan using a step-by-step process.

Each step includes case studies on topical issues, a handy “To Do” list and additional resources that begin to demonstrate the full potential of the water soft path approach.

The Water Conservation Planning Guide for British Columbia’s Communities was written in partnership with the Ministry of Community and Rural Development.

The Water Conservation Planning Quick Guide highlights some of the leading available resources that support effective water conservation planning including Planning Manuals and Case Studies.

WSP Water Conservation Workshop Roadshow

The Roadshow series brings the WaterSmart Toolkit to the doors of municipalities across Canada. Integrating hands-on learning with grounded research and practical experience, this workshop seeks to equip participants with the tools and resources needed to plan and implement effective long-term comprehensive water conservation programs. The workshops allow local government staff and community water planners to tailor their respective water conservation plans to the challenges in their particular community.

Workshops include the following sessions: 

  • Long-term water conservation planning: “Where do I start?”
  • Setting water-saving goals using the POLIS WaterSmart Scenario Builder
  • Assessing water conservation measures and tools: “Selecting what’s right for you”
  • Tools in action: Water conservation-based pricing, POLIS water conservation-GHG emissions calculator, and community-based social marketing
  • Linking water conservation with community stakeholders: hosted by the University of Waterloo’s Blue Builders Project
  • Developing an implementation plan including an overview of grant programs and funding sources

WaterSmart Scenario Builder
Soft Path Water Analysis Tool

The WaterSmart Scenario Builder is a spreadsheet-based calculator that allows users to explore the potential for water and greenhouse gas emissions savings through the application of water efficiency and conservation measures.

The Scenario Builder is designed to develop and test various future water scenarios using a backcasting framework. This calculator is not intended to replace a detailed conservation audit or water efficiency plan, but assists communities with a preliminary evaluation of various scenarios under a Soft Path planning approach.

A Beta trial version is now available, please contact Carol Maas for access to the Water Smart Scenario Builder.

Pilot Projects

Our national soft path pilot project program supports communities in moving away from supply-side solutions towards a sustainable approach to water management. The WSP currently has numerous projects underway across Canada. It is up to participating communities to determine what their “Soft Path” will ultimately look like.

WSP research demonstrates that a Soft Path approach to designing and implementating a water conservation plan can reduce water use by one-third to one-half using existing off-the-shelf technologies and programs. Our goal is to show that notable savings are achievable and more importantly, that water sustainability is possible.

“Turning Innovative Water Conservation Planning Into Action: Tools, Pilots and Lessons from Initiatives on the Ground”, presentation at CWWA’s 3rd National Conference and Policy Forum on Water Efficiency and Conservation in Victoria

Soft Path for Water Strategy for the Abbotsford Mission Water and Sewer Commission (August 2009).

A New Path to Water Sustainability for the Town of Oliver, BC (February 2007).


Water Sustainability Charter

The Water Sustainability Charter template offers a framework for communities to address local water visions and unique management concerns, while contributing to a broader national and international effort to begin to address the looming global water crisis. The Charter strives to improve dialogue between water managers and water users and emphasizes a participatory approach to water management.