Water Conservation: What YOU Need to Know

According to the United States EPA, in the last fifty years the national population has doubled, but the nation’s water use has tripled. This is unsustainable, and in fewer than 10 years, 40 states will experience water shortages. Further, the World Wildlife Foundation says over one billion people on Earth lack access to water, and nearly three billion live with scarce water resources for at least one month a year.

Earth is covered with water, but only 3% of it is fresh water (the type we need for drinking, irrigation, bathing, etc.), and 66% of that is in glaciers or otherwise not readily usable.

Water conservation is the sustainable management of fresh water. It includes activity to reduce and enhance water use, reduce waste and prevent spoiling current water sources.

Reducing current use includes flushing toilets less frequently and lowering the per-flush water amount (as easily as putting pebbles in the reserve tank). Low-flush, composting, and waterless toilets also also aid in the fight to a save water.

Running washing machines only with full loads and using only high efficiency machines can help. Low-flow showers, shower timers, sink aerators, and using dishwashers instead of hand-washing are some other technological solutions. A big helping hand that nearly all of us can contribute is not allowing water to run while brushing our teeth, washing dishes, cars, our dogs, and our selves!

Good maintenance of the equipment carrying and holding our water are important, also. Pipes, toilets, faucets, and tanks should be checked regularly for leaks. Using a water meter can help find leaks that might otherwise go undiscovered. Good insulation and recycling of water that can be re-used or used a second time also help.

There are, however, ways of taking action to reduce water use that aren’t as apparent. Buying less, generally, is helpful. The production of consumer items (rugs, computers, clothing, anything you buy) uses water to be produced. Food choices can also be important. Food production is reported to amount for almost half of all the water used by humans. Meat production can be especially water intensive, and a plant-based diet uses much less water than one including significant amounts of meat.

Wise use of our water supply is quickly becoming among the most important issues facing the entire planet. Using these ideas and techniques, as well as many others, will help conserve this vital resourse.