Water is the substance of life. All living things depend on water for survival. Plants need water to make food and to grow. Many animals and plants live in water. People need water for cooking, bathing, transportation, recreation, and for growing crops and making products. Not only that but the human body is 2/3 water. So, with water being so important, why are we still using this valuable resource so carelessly?
We poison our ground and surface water. We burn fossil fuels that cause acid rain and global warming. We dam our rivers, interrupting water flow and destroying delicate ecosystems downstream. We clear vegetation and pave massive land areas, decreasing the groundwater level and increasing flooding and soil erosion. On top of all this, those with access to the most water are wasting vast amounts of it.
If water is constantly being cleaned and recycled through the earth’s water cycle, why do we need to conserve it? We actually use up our planet’s fresh water faster than it can naturally be replaced. Although nearly three-quarters of our planet is covered in water, only 1 to 2 percent can support terrestrial life. Global consumption of water is doubling every 20 years.
Droughts, flooding, and other extreme weather events compromised by climate change are also making fresh water an increasingly threatened commodity. To provide enough clean fresh water for people, water is cleaned at drinking water treatment plants before it is used. After water is used, it is cleaned again at wastewater treatment plants or by a septic system before being put back into the environment.
Water shortage is expected to become an increasing problem in the future as well. The distribution of precipitation is very uneven and the rate of evaporation varies depending on temperature and relative humidity. This impacts the amount of water available to replenish groundwater supplies. What can you do? Water conservation is the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to reduce our demand for water. This stretches our supplies farther while also saving money. There are many ways in which you can conserve this valuable resource. To name a few:
- When washing your hands or the dishes, don’t let the water run while rinsing.
- Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
- Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk and save water every time.
- Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants retains moisture and saves water, time and money.
- Adjust your watering schedule each month to match seasonal weather conditions and landscape requirements.
- Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
- When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your plants.
- Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
- To decrease water from being wasted on sloping lawns, apply water for five minutes and then repeat two to three times.
- Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons a month.
How important is water for you?
Not only is water important for our planet, it is important for you. Water makes up more than two thirds of human body weight, and without water, we would die in a few days. The human brain is made up of 95% water, blood is 82% and lungs 90%. A mere 2% drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen.
Fluids also flush out harmful impurities and toxins in our bodies. Since the body uses even more fluid than usual when fighting off a cold or the flu, the body can be left severely dehydrated without it so, drink up.
Water might be everywhere, but one must never take it for granted.