Dry weather can take its toll on Texas, presenting distinct challenges for our limited drinking water supplies. Fortunately, there is something we can do to help offset the negative impact of drought – focus on water conservation.
When we experience ample rainfall, it’s easy to get out of the habit of conserving. But, water conservation is a vital part of making sure we have enough of this vital resource to meet everyone’s needs. With the state continuing to experience a population boom that looks to continue for the foreseeable future, it’s important that we do what we can to ensure we do not experience drastic water shortfalls down the line. Making water conservation a routine part of our daily lives is important, and definitely makes a positive impact.
You may think water conservation is merely a drop in the bucket, but it’s a very important drop when combined with the efforts of others dedicated to the same goal. Not only does conservation help secure water for future use, but it also can help the average family save $115 annually on water bills. When water conservation becomes a habit, it benefits everyone.
The Texas Water Development Board notes that conservation is one of the best ways to help alleviate future water shortages. In a 2018 report, the TWDB spelled out not just the long-term importance of conservation, but how it can make an impact on the near future as well.
“If a severe drought occurs in the next four years and the state does not have sufficient water supplies, Texas could lose 424,000 jobs and $73 billion in income,” according to TWDB. “And those impacts increase each decade.
“Water conservation is often the least expensive and most cost-effective way to ensure adequate water supplies. Individual conservation practices can make a big difference in our overall water use.”
The importance of water conservation is a nationwide concern.
“The U.S. population has doubled over the last 50 years, while our thirst for water has tripled,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “With at least 40 states anticipating water shortages by 2024, the need to conserve water is critical.”
Although water may seem to be an almost infinite resource, considering the world’s vast oceans, the EPA notes that because the vast majority of water either contains high levels of salt or is frozen, it cannot be made suitable for drinking without great cost and effort. In fact, only about 1 percent of the Earth’s water supply is potable (safe to drink).
According to the EPA, some of the impacts of water shortages (which can be reduced by conservation efforts) include: higher water prices, increased outdoor watering restrictions, loss of water recreation opportunities in lakes and rivers because of the critical need for drinking water, more expensive water treatment and transportation projects when an area’s demand for water exceeds what is available nearby.
The Texas Groundwater Protection Committee notes that water conservation has additional benefits beyond the quantity of water available. Those benefits include reduced costs to treat water as well as reduced use of the energy required to deliver water.
“One of the best benefits of water conservation arises from energy savings,” according to the TGPC. “Water is hefty to move and hard to heat. Saving water means saving electricity from both water pumps and water heaters.”
The EPA notes that the average American family of four uses 400 gallons of water each day, so being mindful of saving water can make a big difference.
Information on how you can conserve water can be found here.