Conserving water can greatly limit the negative impact we have on the environment. By thinking conscientiously and creatively, we can make sure that everyone has enough water, while also minimizing the energy we use to bring it to our faucet or garden hose. Plus, using water wisely can lower many water bills.
At Urban Times, it has been high on our agenda to bring more awareness to the increasing scarcity of water. This infographic, brought to us by Seametrics, illustrates that our water consumption is rising so rapidly that our water withdrawals have tripled in the last 50 years. The increasing demand for water, with depleting supplies, might result in international conflict as countries often share water sources. We must become more educated on the implications that wasting water can have on the planet. There are also ‘hidden’ ramifications as we effectively ‘eat water‘: one pound of chocolate requires a staggering 3,170 gallons of water, indicating the excessive use of water in the chocolate industry. In fact, 70% of fresh water is used for agriculture. And what about the plight of the 46% of people that don’t have access to clean fresh water in their dwellings at all?
Wise water use stretches our water resources and can help
avoid seasonal and long-term water shortages. Studies show
that in some areas there is less groundwater than originally thought, that drilling deeper may provide poorer quality water, and that the aquifer is not being replenished as quickly
as we assumed.
97% of the earth's water is in our oceans and 2% is trapped in icecaps and glaciers. This leaves about 1% of the earth's water available for human consumption. It's easy to understand, then, that our domestic water supply is a manufactured product whose raw material is limited. Environmental and financial restrictions also limit the supply available at any given time. This means that our water supply has to go a long way towards satisfying all the competing interests: residential - including drinking and sanitation, manufacturing, environmental, agricultural, and recreational. Philosophically, conserving water makes good sense for those reasons stated above. Practically speaking, conserving water makes sense for the following reasons. Conserving water conserves energy - gas, electric or both. Conserving water can reduce our monthly water and sewer bills now. Finally, conserving water can postpone the construction of or eliminate the need to build expensive capital projects such as wastewater or water treatment plants that will need future maintenance. Most of us have come to realize that efficient management of our natural resources is a necessity if we are to ensure an adequate supply of water for our future needs. Water conservation programs are typically initiated at the local level, by either municipalwater utilities or regional governments. Common strategies include public outreachcampaigns, tiered water rates (charging progressively higher prices as water use increases), or restrictions on outdoor water use such as lawn watering and car washing.Cities in dry climates often require or encourage the installation of xeriscaping or natural landscaping in new homes to reduce outdoor water usage. One fundamental conservation goal is universal metering. The prevalence of residential water metering varies significantly worldwide. Recent studies have estimated that water supplies are metered in less than 30% of UK households, and about 61% of urban Canadian homes (as of 2001). Although individual water meters have often been considered impractical in homes with private wells or in multifamily buildings, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that metering alone can reduce consumption by 20 to 40 percent. In addition to raising consumer awareness of their water use, metering is also an important way to identify and localize water leakage. Water metering would benefit society in the long run it is proven...
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