Water conservation is a hot topic these days. For municipalities and big companies that use large amounts of water, conservation measures can add up to monumental savings and significant environmental impact. But for the average homeowner, how important is it to save water, really? Especially if you don’t live in a drought-prone area, you might find yourself wondering: What’s a few gallons here and there?
The truth is that it does matter. How we use our water as a society ultimately depends on choices made by individuals like you and me. It adds up! The thing is, most of us aren’t aware of just how monumental an impact our water-use decisions really make.
Let’s take a moment to explore five reasons why saving water is more important than most people realize.
Reason #1: Water is a scarcer resource than most people think.
On a planet with a surface that is 71 percent covered by water, you’d think there would never be a shortage. The fact is, more than 96 percent of the water on Earth is saltwater and largely unusable. Less than 1 percent of Earth’s water is both usable and readily available for use. Water truly is a precious resource, and is becoming more so as the global population expands.
Reason #2: Water treatment consumes significant energy.
Even if you live in a water-rich area and don’t feel it matters much whether you save every drop of water, keep in mind that water is not the only thing at stake when extra gallons are wasted. For water to get to your tap, it has to go through an energy-intensive process of extraction, transportation and purification. Wastewater, too, requires processing. For the most part, these processes are made possible only by burning fossil fuels. This means wasting water also impacts carbon footprint and air quality, and needlessly depletes our shrinking fossil fuel resources.
Reason #3: Water feeds the world.
Forty percent of the world’s food production depends on the availability of fresh water for irrigation. Fresh water is a limited resource; wasting water could potentially result in starvation for certain groups of people.
Reason #4: Healthy ecosystems depend on responsible water use.
Humans are just beginning to realize the importance of maintaining a healthy natural balance in the earth’s ecosystems. The plants and animals that make up healthy ecosystems work together to help keep the entire planet’s systems — including climate and water cycles — functioning in ways that support life around the globe. No matter where you live, your water use impacts your local environment — which in turn affects other ecosystems all over the world.
Reason #5: Wasting water wastes money.
In addition to all the humanitarian and environmental reasons to save water, there’s the financial angle. Wasting water literally leaks money from your wallet. Even if it’s not a huge amount, it adds up over time. If you value your money, it makes sense to stop those leaks!
The way we use our water really does make a difference in so many ways. While you may not think that a single individual can make a difference, think again. All positive social changes start first with individual decisions to do the right thing.
The great thing is, saving water doesn’t have to be difficult. You can save a lot just through simple actions such as installing leak detectors in your home. Once you get started, we bet you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel knowing you’re doing your part to help not just your household, but your community and the planet as well.