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Wasting Away Water

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Every living thing on Earth needs water, but is there enough for everyone? Water keeps us alive. It moderates climates to make them habitable, sculpts the land to make beautiful scenery and places for people to live, and removes and dilutes wastes and pollutants that would otherwise cause widespread disease. All this makes water an important resource, but only about .024% of the earth’s water supply is available to us as liquid freshwater in accessible groundwater deposits, and in lakes, rivers, and streams.

We currently use more than half of the world’s supply of surface water and could be using as much as 70-90% by 2025. We withdraw this water from rivers, lakes, and aquifers, but about 70% of what we take is never returned. This is because most freshwater use is consumptive and the water ends u lost due to evaporation, seepage into the ground, transport to another area, or contamination. This ultimately means that the small amount of usable water is getting smaller.

This is exacerbated by the fact that we waste about two-thirds of the water we use. This means that a large amount of water is not going towards helping us and isn’t going back to its original usable source either. This waste is mostly from leaks, overuse, and inefficient water systems. Sixty percent of the world’s irrigation water is currently wasted unnecessarily. Considering that irrigation id the biggest user of water around the world (comprising 70% of the total water usage) this is a large amount of water being wasted.

However, there is something we can do to use water more sustainably. Waste can be cut from the current two-thirds (~66%) of what we use to only 15% through reduced evaporation and leakage, and improved efficiency of use. Irrigation waste can be cut to 5-20% with the use of more efficient irrigation techniques such as center-pivot, low-pressure sprinkler irrigation, Low-Energy Precision Application (LEPA), and drip irrigation systems. Even poor farmers in developing countries can reduce waste through low-tech methods to pump groundwater and make more efficient use of rainfall. Industries can do their part by recycling much of the water they use.

All those things are good for farmers and industries, but what can you do? Well first of all, homeowners can contribute by using water-saving toilets, appliances, and showerheads. Fixing any leaks, using drip irrigation and yard plants that need little water, along with saving and reusing rainwater, and reusing wastewater for some purpose are all good ways to conserve water. Not only that but everyone can save water just by being conscience of your water use on a daily bases. Unnecessarily long showers, leaving faucets running when you’re not using them and many other similar actions are all ways that people can waste water every day, avoiding these situations can go a long way towards helping save water from being wasted.

Water is necessary for all living things and is a major component for a number of essential processes. We need to value our water and do anything we can to use out limited supply of freshwater resources in a way that will preserve our water for future generations. In the grand scheme of things water is a key factor, and it is important to start using water more sustainably as soon as we can.





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