Ways We Waste Water and Ideas for Conservation

Over the past few months, there has been a strong focus on energy use and its cost. However, a more important subject should be on the value of fresh water and how we take it for granted and waste it daily.

Being an alderman in a small town, I have come to appreciate the value of water for our community. Recently, we spent two years planning and budgeting for a new water tower. I receive more rhetoric about little things than I do about a project that is costing the tax payers close to a million dollars. Nobody pays much attention to water until they have to go without for one reason or another.

Recently, I read an article in Scientific American by Adam Hadhazy. It dealt with the different ways we waste water and ideas for conservation. I would like to share them with some of my own ideas as well.

Washing the car. When you wash the car at home or clean off your walk and driveway, the average person goes through about 80 gallons of water. By going to a car wash, you only use about 30 gallons.

Washing Dishes. A dishwasher will use about 10 gallons. If you wash dishes by hand, with the rinsing and all , you use about 20 or more depending on the amount of dishes that you have. This knowledge alone should encourage all housewives to convince their husband to go to the electric dishwasher.

Swimming Pools. about 1000 gallons a month, during hot weather is lost in a swimming pool. Water is constantly splashed out and evaporates into the air. Many pools also develop leaks. Some people will drain their pool the at the end of the season and waste it away as well.

Sprinklers and Fountains. There are many fountains that constantly flow out and into a drain. Watering a lawn just to keep it green is a waste of water , too.

Desert Resorts. I never thought much about this but, the fabulous get away resorts in the dry desert has to keep those golf courses green for their visitors. 70% of the water used in Las Vegas goes for keeping their 60 plus golf courses green.

Biofuels. To make one gallon of ethanol, 170 gallons of water is needed. I was shocked when I read that.

Agriculture. If you have ever traveled in the South or Southwest parts of America, you always see these long lines of water irrigation pipes on wheels that can be rolled across countless miles of fields to help water their crops when it gets dry. Although this is necessary for our food that we consume, it also uses a lot of water.

Farming Alfalfa. California uses about about a quarter of its irrigated water on growing this crop. Alfalfa is used to feed cattle. The cattle is about 4% of California’s total farm production income.

Baths instead of Showers. Everyone likes to be clean. Truth be known, it is cleaner and much more conservative to take a shower instead of sitting in and soaking in gallons of water in the bathtub.

General Cleanups. Many businesses and corporations waste water in their daily and even hourly clean up. The water holds down the material which makes it easier to clean up and move. Some industries have went to using air to move debris and dust out of working areas.

Flushing every time. Every time we flush the stool gallons of water is gone. I know that it is a sanitary thing to do. However, each flush is costing us fresh water and the consumer money.

Many of us waste water without even thinking about it. Yet when water is costing us $1.79 for a bottle to consume, that should send us a red flag that something is up. So the next time that you get water bill and it appears high, there is a reason for it. Water is one of our most if not the most precious commodity that we have. Clean fresh water is coming harder to get as the population of the world grows and keep finding ways to waste it.

Adam Hadhazy; Scientific American

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