Most of us consider water as a mainstay of daily life that's readily available. Everyday tasks like showering, doing the laundry, washing dishes, and brushing our teeth would not be possible without water. Although many of us take having enough water for granted, water is actually a limited resource that is not available to many people in less fortunate places.
Only one percent of the earth's water supply is available for human use. The remaining water is salt water that makes up our oceans or frozen ice caps in remote arctic areas of the world. Without water, many people and important industries like farming, mining, and fishing would suffer. Clean water is not as accessible as most people think, so water conservation really does matter.
A Closer Look at Water Usage
Water usage varies significantly in different countries. Compared to other countries, Americans use a high percentage of water. The average American family uses approximately 1136 liters of water per day, that's equal to 300 gallons. About 24 percent is used to flush the toilet; 20 percent for bathing; 19 percent for running the faucet; 17 percent for laundry; 12 percent for leaky pipes; and 8 percent for miscellaneous tasks.
Australia has the second-highest water usage with 470 liters per day, followed by Italy with 390 liters; Japan with 375 liters; Mexico with 360 liters; Spain with 325 liters; Norway with 300 liters; and Austria with 230 liters. Water usage in developing countries like Ethiopia, Haiti, Rwanda, and Uganda average less than 15 liters per day.
The Importance of Water Conservation
Water conservation is a growing concern in America and other countries around the world. Many people are experiencing water shortages due to drought and other environmental issues. Many cities are starting to ration water and impose higher rate charges and fines for excessive water usage.
Most areas collect water from rainfall, natural streams, and lakes with the use of watersheds— underground tanks that collect, store, and replenish water to nearby areas. Watersheds are currently replenishing water to millions of people around the world, but what happens if natural water sources begin to dry up? How will our water be replenished?
When reservoir water levels and ground water tables drop, our water supply, health, and environment at put at risk. Lower water levels contribute to higher concentrations of natural pollutants in oceans, lakes and streams, which can be passed to us through unclean water and food, disease-carrying insects, and environmental toxins. Water conservation keeps natural water levels high. Less water going down the drain means more fresh water in our rivers, lakes and streams.
Do Your Part to Conserve Water
There are many things you can do to conserve your daily water usage at home. Here at some simple ways to save water and money:
- Turn Off the Faucets – By turning off your faucets when you're washing your face or brushing your teeth, you can save about two gallons of water per minute.
- Install Low-Flush Toilets – EPA standards require residential toilets to use a maximum of 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Newer WaterSense toilets use just 1.28 gallons.
- Buy an Energy-Efficient Washer – The average American family does about 300 loads of laundry each year. An EnergyStar washer will use about 40 percent less water.
- Take Shorter Showers – Limit your showers to five minutes or less and install low-flow shower heads.
- Fix Leaky Pipes – Leaky pipes account for 12 percent of household water usage. Check indoor and outdoor pipes and repair or replace all leaky pipes.
If you have any questions about how to reduce your water usage, contact Bill Fenwick Plumbing.