Water Conservation

Less than 1% of the water supply on earth is fresh water.

Where does the rest of the water go? Excellent question. 2% of the global water supply is trapped in icebergs; 97% is salt water; the remaining 1% makes up our fresh water supply. This 1% fresh water supply must cover our population’s daily use and consumption.

97%
salt water
  • 2% trapped in iceberg
  • 1% fresh water

Fresh water must meet industrial, municipal, and agricultural needs.

In fact, up to 69% of our fresh water supply is consumed by the agricultural industry, compared to 21% for municipal use and 10% for industrial use.

  • agricultural industry
  • municipal use
  • industrial use

At the same time, population growth around the world is skyrocketing.

Greatly increasing the demand for fresh, potable water. The world population was estimated at 0.7 billion in 1750, 2.3 billion in 1950, and a projected 9.5 billion in 2050.

  • 1750
  • 1950
  • 2050

These figures indicate that up to 5.3 billion people could suffer from global water shortages by 2025.

Water conservation is one of the best ways to save money and benefit our environment at the same time.

By paying attention to how and when you use water, you can cut down on unnecessary water waste. Water conservation is cost-effective, and it also helps to reduce our demand for water. Taking simple steps to restrict unnecessary water use and improve efficiency can keep supply levels stable in your local area and around the world.

A 40% increase in water demand is expected over the next two decades, related to

  • growing population,
  • agricultural,
  • AND energy production needs

Water conservation is critical to support our future population

While we cannot control our static fresh water supply, we can control how much water we use on a daily basis. The United States is a major consumer and waster of water; in the US, the average person uses up to 152 gallons of water per day. Compare this to only 39 gallons used per day in the UK, 23 gallons per day in China, and 4 gallons per day in Ethiopia, and you will see that we have a serious problem on our hands.


US Residential Water Use

  • yard
  • toilet
  • Clothes Washers
  • 7%

    Shower

  • 1%

    bath

  • 1%

    unknown

  • 6%

    Faucets

  • 1%

    dishwasher

  • 1%

    others

  • 6%

    leaks

Source: canwesavetheworld.com


Typical Office Water Use

  • Sanitary
  • Cooling/Heating
  • Irrigation
  • 9%

    Miscellaneous

  • 1%

    Kitchen

  • 1%

    Single Pass Cooling

Source: epa.gov

here are several important benefits of water conservation to consider

  • Protect fresh drinking water resources.
  • Save money on household utilities.
  • Conserve energy needed to pump, heat, and treat fresh water.
  • Reduce harmful land erosion caused by agricultural irrigation.
  • Maintain essential aquatic ecosystems.

Protect the earth’s most precious resource for children of the next generation.
  • Preserve fresh water resources to sustain fish, plant, and wildlife.
  • Minimize potentially harmful water pollution.
  • Save exorbitant amounts of money spent annually on recycling, cleaning, and purifying water.

Water is essential to all life on this planet

Here are 10 important facts to remember about everyday water use

  • 75% water

    The human body is made up of 75% water; a person can survive only 5 to 7 days without water.

  • 2½ quarts of water

    The average adult needs to drink two and a half quarts of water a day to survive.

  • 110 million gallons

    Americans consume roughly 110 million gallons of water a day.

  • 140-170 gallons

    The average American uses 140-170 gallons of water a day.

  • 3.5-7 gallons

    One toilet flush requires 3.5-7 gallons of water.

  • plumbing leaks

    14% of indoor water use is lost each day through plumbing leaks.

Federally mandated low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets were introduced in 1992.

The average person wastes 40 gallons of gray water per day in the US, which could be repurposed for irrigation.

60% water on garden and
yard maintenance

Up to 60% of household water use may go toward garden and yard maintenance; depending on where you live in the country, it may require more water to care for your lawn.


6.8 billion gallons of fresh water are produced daily by 13,600 desalination plants around the world

However, this accounts for less than 1% of the world’s water demand.

Though most of us have high hopes to benefit the environment, it is still perfectly normal to ask, “What’s in it for me?” As you explore the financial benefits of water conservation, you may be even more motivated to cut down on your household water waste.

Fresh water is a renewable resource, but the world’s clean water supply is dwindling faster than it can be replenished.
  • If all households in the US took steps toward water conservation,

by installing water-saving appliances and fixtures, it would save 40,000 gallons per household per year. This boils down to an estimated savings of 30% on annual water bills.

When this number is applied to all households in the US, it yields a total savings of 5.4 million gallons a day, or $11.3 million. Individual water conservation savings will vary by household

  • installing water-saving appliances and fixtures
  • save 40,000 gallons/ household a year
  • save 30% annual water bills

  • Older showerheads
  • low-flow showerheads

Upgrading to a low-flow showerhead

Upgrading to a low-flow showerhead could put money back in your bank account, after the initial investment. Older showerheads manufactured before 1992 expend an average of 5.5 gallons of water a minute; low-flow showerheads manufactured after 1992 expend less than half, or 2.5 gallons of water a minute. Over the course of a year, the average family of four could save an estimated 27,000 gallons, or $260.

If you want to save money and conserve water, it’s time to face the facts

Here are the 10 most common water wasters under your roof

  • 1 Letting the water run while you shave or brush your teeth.
  • 2 Running the faucet until it turns cool or hot.
  • 3 Running water in the sink to wash dishes instead of filling the sink basin.
  • 4 Not replacing toilets manufactured before 1992 with newer, low-efficiency models.

  • 5Running a dishwasher or washer with a small load.

  • 6

    Ignoring or failing to check for household leaks in faucets, toilets, and bathtubs..

  • 7 #

    Taking long showers without a low-flow showerhead.

  • 8

    Using the garden hose to clean sidewalks instead of sweeping with a broom.

  • 9 Watering the lawn on windy days, which greatly increases evaporation.
  • 10 Watering midday, between noon and 8 PM, when evaporation rates are highest.

When it comes to water conservation, every drop makes a difference

You can also make a big “splash” by using water-conservation technology to upgrade certain features in your house. Specifically, you will get more bang for your buck by upgrading household appliances.


  • high-efficiency toilet

    Toilets manufactured before 1992 consume up to 7 gallons per flush, compared to 1.6 gallons per flush in the latest high-efficiency toilet models.


  • Front-loading washing machine

    Front-loading washing machines are more efficient and consume only 18 gallons per load on average.


  • high-efficiency dishwasher

    A high-efficiency dishwasher upgrade that runs only when full can conserve an additional 1000 gallons of water per month.


WaterSense Labeled Irrigation Controllers

For home use, the EPA recommends water-efficient technologies to cut down on water wasted in outside irrigation. WaterSense Labeled Irrigation Controllers utilize local weather data to program a sprinkler system; soil moisture sensors connect to irrigation controllers to water only when soil is dry; rainfall shutoff devices deactivate a system in rainy weather to account for natural rainfall; rain sensors automatically turn off an irrigation system when it starts to rain; high-efficiency rotary sprinkler heads offer better delivery than mist sprinkler heads to prevent water loss and evaporation.

The Top 25 Ways

to Conserve Water at Home

  • 1Use appliances only when necessary

    Run your washing machine and dishwasher only when you have a full load.

    #

  • 4Repair visible leaks

    The longer you ignore that dripping faucet, the more money you are going to spend on your water bill. Even a small drip can waste upwards of 50 gallons a day.

  • 6Upgrade your showerheads

    Inexpensive low-flow showerhead upgrades will dispense roughly 2.5 gallons of water a minute compared to older showerheads at 5 to 7 gallons of water per minute. Making this simple switch could save an estimated 800 gallons per month.

  • 10Reduce shower time

    When every family member commits to taking shorter showers by 1 to 2 minutes, you can conserve an estimated 700 gallons of water per month.

  • 13Defrost meat in the refrigerator overnight

    Avoid thawing meat or frozen foods under running water in the sink; plan ahead to defrost in the refrigerator or use the microwave defrost setting instead.

  • 16Reuse towels multiple times

    Adopt this practice at home and when staying in hotels.

  • 19Check and adjust your sprinkler system regularly

    Sprinklers should be properly positioned and programmed to water only the grass, instead of the sidewalk or house. Program sprinklers to water in the morning or evening to prevent unnecessary evaporation.

  • 23Don’t overwater the lawn

    Even in the hot days of summer, your yard only needs to be watered every 5 to 7 days and every 10 to 14 days in the winter. A good rain could save you from watering for up to two weeks.

  • 2Upgrade to a front-loading washer

    Compared to an efficient front-loader, a top-loading washer wastes up to 50 gallons of water per load.

  • 5Check regularly for toilet tank leaks

    Add food coloring to the toilet tank on a monthly basis; if the toilet has a leak, color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes.

    #

  • 7Upgrade all household faucets

    Household faucets can be retrofitted with aerators to restrict flow and manage water waste.

  • 11Turn off the water while brushing your teeth

    This simple tip is something we normally teach our kids, but every member of the family can benefit from turning off the faucet to prevent water waste. Using water only to rinse can save an estimated 3 gallons a day.

  • 14Soak pots and pans before washing

    Give cookware time to soak instead of letting the water run as you scrape and clean.

  • 17Do not use a water-to-air air conditioning system

    Air-to-air air conditioners operate just as effectively and will not waste water while cooling.

  • 20Wash your car the old-fashioned way

    Instead of using a hose to spray and rinse or paying for a car wash, wash your car at home with elbow grease, soap, and water in a bucket.

  • 22Report broken pipes, leaky hydrants, and malfunctioning sprinklers

    If you notice that a public or residential water fixture isn’t working properly, report it to the landlord or city as quickly as possible.

  • 24Upkeep your garden

    Regular pruning will help your plants to use water in the garden more efficiently.

  • 3Check your home from top to bottom for leaks

    According to In.gov, “Many homes have hidden water leaks. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when water is not being used. If the dials are moving, or the meter does not have the same reading both times, there is a leak.

  • 8Insulate hot water pipes

    Insulation around primary hot water pipes will provide your family with hot water faster and cut down on waste as water heats up.

  • 9Flush the toilet only when necessary

    Don’t use the toilet as a trashcan to flush insects, tissue, and other waste.

  • 12Don’t rinse vegetables under running water

    Save up to 200 gallons of water a month by rinsing produce in a filled pot or pan instead of under running water in the sink.

  • 15Reuse extra water before you pour it down the drain

    Use extra water that has cooled from cooking or after rinsing dishes to water plants.

  • 18Cover swimming pools and hot tubs to reduce evaporation

    A covered pool makes it easier to keep clean and cuts down on the need for chemical treatment, while improving safety. An uncovered swimming pool could waste 1000 gallons of water a month in evaporation, at the minimum.

  • 21Landscape strategically

    Consult a landscaping company or research drought-resistant rain gardens and landscaping terrain for yourself; mulch can be used to decrease evaporation in your lawn.

  • 25Take advantage of the weather

    Install rain barrels under gutter spouts to catch excess runoff after a storm; use rainwater to wash your car or water your garden.

  • 1Use appliances only when necessary

    Run your washing machine and dishwasher only when you have a full load.

    #

  • 2Upgrade to a front-loading washer

    Compared to an efficient front-loader, a top-loading washer wastes up to 50 gallons of water per load.

  • 3Check your home from top to bottom for leaks

    According to In.gov, “Many homes have hidden water leaks. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when water is not being used. If the dials are moving, or the meter does not have the same reading both times, there is a leak.

  • 4Repair visible leaks

    The longer you ignore that dripping faucet, the more money you are going to spend on your water bill. Even a small drip can waste upwards of 50 gallons a day.

  • 5Check regularly for toilet tank leaks

    Add food coloring to the toilet tank on a monthly basis; if the toilet has a leak, color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes.

    #

  • 6Upgrade your showerheads

    Inexpensive low-flow showerhead upgrades will dispense roughly 2.5 gallons of water a minute compared to older showerheads at 5 to 7 gallons of water per minute. Making this simple switch could save an estimated 800 gallons per month.

  • 7Upgrade all household faucets

    Household faucets can be retrofitted with aerators to restrict flow and manage water waste.

  • 8Insulate hot water pipes

    Insulation around primary hot water pipes will provide your family with hot water faster and cut down on waste as water heats up.

  • 9Flush the toilet only when necessary

    Don’t use the toilet as a trashcan to flush insects, tissue, and other waste.

  • 10Reduce shower time

    When every family member commits to taking shorter showers by 1 to 2 minutes, you can conserve an estimated 700 gallons of water per month.

  • 11Turn off the water while brushing your teeth

    This simple tip is something we normally teach our kids, but every member of the family can benefit from turning off the faucet to prevent water waste. Using water only to rinse can save an estimated 3 gallons a day.

  • 12Don’t rinse vegetables under running water

    Save up to 200 gallons of water a month by rinsing produce in a filled pot or pan instead of under running water in the sink.

  • 13Defrost meat in the refrigerator overnight

    Avoid thawing meat or frozen foods under running water in the sink; plan ahead to defrost in the refrigerator or use the microwave defrost setting instead.

  • 14Soak pots and pans before washing

    Give cookware time to soak instead of letting the water run as you scrape and clean.

  • 12Don’t rinse vegetables under running water

    Save up to 200 gallons of water a month by rinsing produce in a filled pot or pan instead of under running water in the sink.

  • 16Reuse towels multiple times

    Adopt this practice at home and when staying in hotels.

  • 17Do not use a water-to-air air conditioning system

    Air-to-air air conditioners operate just as effectively and will not waste water while cooling.

  • 18Cover swimming pools and hot tubs to reduce evaporation

    A covered pool makes it easier to keep clean and cuts down on the need for chemical treatment, while improving safety. An uncovered swimming pool could waste 1000 gallons of water a month in evaporation, at the minimum.

  • 19Check and adjust your sprinkler system regularly

    Sprinklers should be properly positioned and programmed to water only the grass, instead of the sidewalk or house. Program sprinklers to water in the morning or evening to prevent unnecessary evaporation.

  • 20Wash your car the old-fashioned way

    Instead of using a hose to spray and rinse or paying for a car wash, wash your car at home with elbow grease, soap, and water in a bucket.

  • 21Landscape strategically

    Consult a landscaping company or research drought-resistant rain gardens and landscaping terrain for yourself; mulch can be used to decrease evaporation in your lawn.

  • 22Report broken pipes, leaky hydrants, and malfunctioning sprinklers

    If you notice that a public or residential water fixture isn’t working properly, report it to the landlord or city as quickly as possible.

  • 23Don’t overwater the lawn

    Even in the hot days of summer, your yard only needs to be watered every 5 to 7 days and every 10 to 14 days in the winter. A good rain could save you from watering for up to two weeks.

  • 24Upkeep your garden

    Regular pruning will help your plants to use water in the garden more efficiently.

  • 25Take advantage of the weather

    Install rain barrels under gutter spouts to catch excess runoff after a storm; use rainwater to wash your car or water your garden.

What does the future hold for the world’s water supply?

Water consumption in the US increases year after year, and the effects are noticeable. Within the last five years, the EPA confirms that almost every region in the country reported water shortages. Around the world, water consumption has tripled within the past 50 years.

It’s more important than ever to take water conservation seriously, both globally and at a personal level.

Take heart in knowing that when you put these conservation tips into practice, you are making a difference. You are preserving our water supply and protecting your family’s future.

SOURCES

“Water Conservation for a Growing World.” rainbird.com.

“Water Conservation.” sscwd.org.

“Water Conservation Facts and Tips – National Geographic.” National Geographic.

“How Much Water Is Your Home Wasting?” seametrics.com.

“Indiana State Department of Health.” ISDH: Water Conservation Tips.

“WATER CONSERVATION TIPS.” ripuc.ri.gov.