Our planet is comprised of about 70% water, yet less than 1% of freshwater is safe for humans to drink. And since the human body is majorly comprised of water, from our cells to our organs and even bones, not having enough water to drink means trouble. In countries like the U.S., water may seem abundant, but not every nation shares the same access. Not only do we need to work together to conserve water, but we must be more aware of the ways we take our access to water for granted.
If we all took a moment to take stock of our households and calculate the amount of water we let go to waste, we could make a big impact, and ensure that water is available for when we really need it. There are many reasons to fight water waste, and with so many countries across the world dealing with water shortages, it is our duty to make sure this vital resource is available to everyone.
Where Does It All Go?
Water is wasted on small and large scales, from agriculture to daily household negligence. In farming, flood irrigation is the most common way to water crops, and this results in high levels of water waste. In flood irrigation, a large amount of water is poured onto crops, and much of it is impossible to reuse. The excess often runs off into larger bodies of water, but due to pesticides and other chemicals, it harms wildlife and other water sources. Flood irrigation is simple and cheap, and therefore appealing, but other forms of irrigation can be implemented to use less water (like drip or spray irrigation). Because agriculture uses almost 40 percent of fresh water in the U.S., more efficient means of irrigation are absolutely vital to water conservation.
In the home, many casual decisions we make waste large amounts of water. Toilets are one of the biggest culprits, as well as leaky pipes. Some simple ways to combat water waste in the home are to take shorter showers, only use washing machines and dishwashers when completely full, turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, and water your lawns earlier in the day so the water evaporates more slowly. Resources like this water calculator can help you determine how much water you waste, so you and your household can make adjustments accordingly.
Why Preventing Water Waste Matters
By streamlining the way we use water, we are allowing more water to get back into the environment and ecosystems that also depend on it—ecosystems that we depend on. And when we consistently waste water on non-essential things, like watering the lawn or gratuitous showers, not only are we stripping the earth of its most valuable resource, but we’re making it harder for people who are in desperate need of water to have access to it.
Water is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Everyone should have access to clean, fresh water. Many of us simply do not grasp the gravity of the water crisis happening on our planet, and do not understand the parts we all play in it. Even small changes, like switching to low-flow showerheads or high-efficiency toilets can save gallons of water. We can save on water bills while saving the planet; all it takes is a new perspective.
Water waste is no joke. It affects the environment, economy, and the entire human population. Conservation needs to start now.