I love to see all those infographics, stats, charts, and experts saying that the world’s water supply is fine. There’s an abundance of it, right?
Less than 1% of the Earth’s water is available for humans to use.
Where’s the rest of the water you ask?
- Frozen freshwater is in polar ice caps
- Saltwater in the oceans
- Buried deep or inaccessible for practical use.
And here’s the real deal, and there’s actually no way around this one:
The demand for fresh water is ever increasing. But the supply stays pretty much constant.
The natural water cycle always brings the water back to Earth. But that doesn’t mean it brings it back to the same places, in the same quality, as accessible, or even in the same quantity from place-to-place.
This means that water conservation and water usage efficiency must always be uppermost in our minds.
How Big of a Role Does Water Play in Our Lives?
More than you might realize. It seems that people who want to conserve and be more efficient with their water are really only partially aware of the amount of water they use and where they are wasteful.
It’s hard for the average person, with their busy lives, to give thought to simple questions, like:
- “How much water does a fire-fighting consume daily?”
- “Do municipal services like government offices and parks use much water?”
- “How many gallons of water are in those public swimming pools?”
The amount of, and intricacy, of the water system to include dams, levy systems, pipes, canals, and pumping stations is mind-boggling.
Of course, as individuals, no one person can do it all. That’s why more awareness and effort is needed.
Water During the Daily Grind of Ordinary Life
We use water every day. Need it. We can’t live without it. I hope we can all agree there.
However, unlike some countries and areas around the world, the United States has quick, easy, and affordable access to the safest treated water in the world. Hands down.
- Just by turning the knob on a faucet, most Americans can drink without worry and bathe in comfort.
- We can make great tasting coffee on our counters.
- We can brush our teeth and wash our faces. Shower.
- The average family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day. At home! So, that doesn’t include the workplace, restaurants, etc.
- 70% of at-home water usage occurs indoors.
- Outdoor water usage accounts for 30% of home water usage but depending on the area can be much higher. Think El Paso or Tucson; dry, hot climates.
We’d urge you to type “daily water usage household calculator” into your search engine and actually calculate how much water your family or household uses daily.
We just did it here and we used a 6-month average of gallons per month based on our water bill. Wow. We use around 250 gallons per day and that’s with water conservation in mind.
Other Necessary Water Usage Categories
Like we touched on up above a bit: It’s difficult to envision the ways we (as a society) use water that we don’t even see every day. There’s irrigation, public safety, aquaculture, mining, thermoelectric power, etc. These are all needed daily, by all of us, just to keep the infrastructure or the country and business operating.
Challenges with Water Demand
Remember up above how we said that the water cycle brings the water back to Earth but not always in the same quantity and quality, and/or in the same place?
Well, there are many places in the US that are struggling with lack of water, aging water treatment systems, and adequate infrastructure.
See the map below for your states Domestic Water Use Per Day Per Person in Gallons:
As a result:
- We get charged more for water to ensure the supply stays safe and reliable.
- Watering and water usage restrictions during the hottest, driest times of the year to conserve.
- Loss of nature like lakes and rivers.
- Big water business that costs a ton to treat and transport water.
The Strain on the Environment
As reservoirs dry up or get low, the groundwater table drops and human health and nature are put at risk. Not to mention having to find other sources of fresh, reliable drinking water.
Water flow and the Earth’s natural water cycle help to clean and rid of human natural pollutants. When water is scarce, the cleaning process suffers.
For some great tips on using water more efficiently and being mindful of the water that you use, read these articles here:
Read some water conservation tips from WaterOsmo.com in the “related articles” field below.
Source: EPA.GOV “How we Use Water”