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Drip, Drip: Canadians much quicker to repair an internet outage than a leaky faucet

Just one drop per second wastes 25 litres a day of clean, fresh water

TORONTO, March 20, 2013 - While most Canadians (75 per cent) would fix an internet outage within a few hours or a day, and two-thirds (64 per cent) would repair a TV reception problem that quickly, only half (52 per cent) would fix a leaky faucet within the same timeframe. Further, one-third of Canadians (33 per cent) would take up to a week or more to stop the drip, according to the sixth annual 2013 RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Study, commissioned by the RBC Blue Water Project and administered by GlobeScan.

“With just days to go until World Water Day on March 22, we’d like Canadians to think about the value of clean, fresh water,” says Bob Sandford, chair of Canadian Partnership Initiative of the UN Water for Life Decade. “To continue enjoying the quality of drinking water we all want and need, Canadians must understand that it’s a finite resource.”

According to the study, Canadians ages 18 to 34 are least likely to repair the leaky faucet within a few hours or a day (45 per cent) and Canadians aged 55 and older are the most likely to fix the drip quickly (65 per cent).

“A dripping faucet might not seem like a big deal, but it takes a lot of energy for municipalities to clean, treat and deliver water to most Canadian households. When you waste water, you’re also wasting the costly energy it took to get that water to you, and that has an impact on the bottom line,” says Sandford.

Of the 81 per cent of Canadians that rely on municipal water services, most don’t have a sense of what they are paying for water.  Only 40 per cent are charged for the amount of water they use. The rest either don’t know how they are charged for water (10 per cent), pay a fixed amount regardless of how much they use (18 per cent), or say their costs are built into their rent or condo fees (33 per cent).  Two-thirds (65 per cent) say they do not have a water meter at their residence.

Younger Canadians feel most guilty about negative behavior – yet do it anyway
Canadians ages 18 to 34 are much more likely to feel guilty about their own negative impact on the environment (45 per cent) than 35 to 55 year olds (28 per cent) or Canadians aged 55+ (19 per cent). Yet, despite this guilt, Canadians ages 18 to 34 are least likely, among all Canadians to:

  • Avoid watering the lawn in the summer (44 per cent versus 51 per cent and 54 per cent, respectively, for 35 to 55 year olds and those age 55 and older)
  • Shower for no more than five minutes on any given day (23 per cent versus 41 per cent and 64 per cent, respectively, for 35 to 55 year olds and those age 55 and older)
  • Pay attention to news and other information about fresh water issues (33 per cent versus 35 per cent and 47 per cent, respectively, for 35 to 55 year olds and those age 55 and older)-

According to the study, young Canadians are far more likely to admit to treating themselves to an extra-long shower when they ‘want to relieve stress or get away from it all’ (37 per cent versus 18 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, for 35 to 55 year olds and 55+).

About the 2013 RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Study
The 2013 RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Study included an online survey administered by GlobeScan between January 23 and February 11, 2013. It included a sample of 2,282 Canadian adults from GMI’s Canadian panel. Weighting was employed to balance demographics, to ensure the sample’s composition reflects the adult population according to Canadian Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. Results were weighted by gender, age, region, and community size. The sample included a minimum of 200 respondents in each of Vancouver, Calgary, and Montreal, and 300 in Toronto. The margin of error for a strict probability sample for as sample of this size (n=2,282) would be ±2.

About RBC Blue Water Project
The RBC Blue Water Project is an historic, wide-ranging, 10-year global commitment to help protect the world’s most precious natural resource: fresh water. Since 2007, RBC has pledged over $36 million to more than 500 charitable organizations worldwide that protect watersheds and promote access to clean drinking water, with an additional $6 million pledged to universities for water programs. In 2013-2014, the RBC Blue Water Project will focus on supporting initiatives that help protect water in towns, cities and urbanized areas. For further information, visit

About RBC Community and Sustainability
Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries operate under the master brand name RBC. We employ approximately 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 15 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 49 other countries. RBC is recognized among the world’s financial, social and environmental leaders and is listed on the 2012 - 2013 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, the DJSI North American Index, the Jantzi Social Index and the FTSE4Good Index. RBC is one of Canada’s Greenest Employers, one of Canada’s 50 Most Socially Responsible Corporations and among the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World.

RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2012, we contributed more than $95 million to causes worldwide, including donations and community investments of more than $64 million and $31 million in sponsorships.

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For further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

André Roberts, RBC Communications, 416 974-3678
Alicia DeBoer, RBC Communications, 416 974-2131