Water is for much more than just drinking. It is essential for industries of all kinds, from manufacturing and medicine, to cleaning and waste disposal. While various levels of purity are required for different processes, all must meet certain levels in order to be viable and safe.
Each individual US citizen uses roughly 100 gallons of water per day. This does not take into account leaks in 5-10 percent of households that amount to about 90 gallons of lost water per day.
During this decade, in a combined survey of residential, industrial, freshwater, and saline water sources, it has been estimated that America uses 350 billion gallons per day. This is down from the all-time high in 1980 of 440 bgd. However, the problem remains: we are using far more freshwater than is sustainable in the long term.
Around the World
Developing nations, who collectively have industrial growth triple that of the United States, are far worse off. Poor infrastructure, improper sewage and sanitation, and sparse regulation means fecal matter contamination is dangerously high for one-third of the current global population. One of the most viable options for arresting global disease and famine is in maintaining sustainable freshwater sources. Luckily, Americans can contribute to this cause without ever leaving their homes.
What You Can Do
Among the many solutions proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most are designed to make freshwater more sustainable while saving you money on your water and sewage utilities. These actions allow you to save up to $170 of the average $500 you spend on water utilities each year.
- Look for plumbing products with the WaterSense label. This program was developed in cooperation with the EPA. The program’s products are up to 20% more efficient.
- Have your plumbing checked for leaks. Leaks do not just costs you money, they also lead to mold, sanitation problems, erosion of your home’s foundation, and illness. Be vigilant about checking for leaks
- Consider environmentally-friendly lawn care practices that reduce water needs. Runoff from your gutters, for example, be collected in rain barrels for outdoor water uses.
- Be sure to turn off your tap when not in use, especially when you are brushing your teeth or washing dishes.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger for Candescent Well Service, LLC. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. Brooke is available via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.