Conserving water can be one of the easiest and most effective ways to positively impact our environment as well as our communities. Water conservation can take a variety of forms and each of them is important in the process of preserving one of the Earth’s most valuable resources.
Though water amounts are limited, demand is rising as the world’s population grows. Projections show that by 2060, the Brazos River basin will not have enough water to meet that growing demand. One way we can ease future strains on our water supply is learning to conserve now. Although 71% of Earth is covered in water, only 3% of this water is freshwater suitable for drinking. The other 97% is saltwater.
Practicing water conservation can be as easy as shutting off the faucet while brushing your teeth, or it can be as involved as installing water-conserving toilets in your house. Every little bit helps.
Conserving water has many positive effects including:
- Minimizing the effects of drought and water shortages. Although freshwater usage is steadily increasing, there has historically been a steady supply. However, as water usage increases, the water supply will not. Even though all water is returned to the water cycle there is no guarantee that it will return to the same area that it was originally found. Depending on where precipitation lands and where it travels on Earth, it can take thousands of years for that water to be returned to Earth as the freshwater we drink. Water typically takes 8-9 days to return to Earth after being evaporated, but where that water ends up is up to chance; therefore, some landscapes are wetter or drier than others. So, by reducing water use, we can save water for years when water becomes scarcer.
- Saving money. Water conservation can save you money in a variety of ways, but one of the easiest ways you can see the positive effects of water conservation on your pockets is by fixing leaks in your home. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the average household’s leaks waste around 10,000 gallons of water, adding up to a national average of 1 trillion gallons of water waste each year.
- Helping preserve our environment. Humans are not the only living organisms that need water, wildlife needs water as well. Every ecosystem is reliant on a water source and as water becomes scarcer these ecosystems are threatened.
- Making water available for recreational purposes. By conserving water, we can avoid water use restrictions enacted by cities that might prevent us from being able to use water recreationally. These restrictions are enacted by our cities to preserve water, but if we prioritize water use in our daily lives these restrictions will not be.
Choosing to conserve water can be a great way to help your community and save a few extra bucks. So, the next time you are thinking about taking that long shower or ignoring that leaky faucet, remember that by taking action you are helping conserve one of Earth’s most precious resources.
For more information, read:
• Why Save Water?
• Benefits of Water Conservation
Return to Water School to learn more about water!