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Calgary's Water Conservation Gets Top Marks

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Calgary is being lauded for its water conservation efforts in a new report that shows both the promise, but also the shortcomings, of this city's green efforts compared to others.

The Economist Intelligence Unit has ranked Cowtown the best of 27 cities in North America for its water, noting in particular how little Calgarians consume per person.

But the report, called the Green Index, has also placed us toward the middle of the pack on over-all greenness, dragged down by less than ideal public transport, higher traffic emissions and greater energy use.

Still, city officials are buoyed at the results, noting simple geography (Calgary is the northernmost city in the study) helps explain why energy use is high, especially in winter.

"I think it makes a difference in the sense that we have other challenges that some of the other cities don't have," said Dick Ebersohn, senior sustainability consultant with the city.

Top marks over-all went to San Francisco, followed by Vancouver and New York City. Calgary ranked 14th.

The study looked at nine environmental categories. In water, the Economist report noted that meters have been made mandatory in Calgary, which is helping reduce consumption.

"Additionally, with a high percentage of metered customers and strong waste water management, the city is poised to remain at the top in the water category," the report said.

But in other ways, Calgary struggles. It ranks 23rd in air, with the report finding higher levels of nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide emissions, a function of "its goods-driven economy"

On transportation, we are tied at 16th spot, and with energy at 18th.

Source: Calgary Herald

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