Our Water and How We Use It

The article I chose is from the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, and it discusses how we use water in our every day lives. However, the most striking piece of information I received from the article comes in the first line when it mentions that less than 1% of the water on Earth is available for human consumption. The other 99% is found in salt water oceans, freshwater polar ice caps, or just too inaccessible for human use.  Water plays an enormous role in our everyday lives whether it be for human consumption, for livestock, or crops such as corn. The article also mentions that the average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day with about 70% of it used indoors.

I believe that we can make a significant difference in water usage indoors by limiting how much water we use in the showers. We could use a timer to minimize water usage in the shower so it’s not running idly which could save almost fifty gallons per day alone. Water is also used to manufacture our goods and even grow our food while maintaining livestock. Nearly half of the water used is for thermoelectric power and irrigation also requires a significant chunk of water power. 

Management of water has also become a growing concern over the past decade, and forty states have told the Government Accountability Office in a 2014 report that they expect to have water shortages over the next ten years that are unrelated to drought. These strains on water could resort in higher water prices, expensive water treatments, and increased summer watering restrictions. I believe that because of these water restrictions, water bottles are so popular since they are easily accessible. On average I can see the Union College community consuming over 5,000 bottles every day.

4 thoughts on “Our Water and How We Use It

  1. I too found it interesting that only 1% of Earth’s water is available for human consumption. While researching for my own blog post, I found an article that said 70% of the water in our bodies comes from meat and crops. Before this week, I had never really thought about the water footprint of our agriculture. Our estimates of bottled water consumption on campus were a bit different, yours being double that of mine. I am curious to work this out in class to find an agreed upon estimate.

  2. Your post made me think of a documentary I saw about people who lived with little to zero waste. One of the big ways they cut back their consumption of water was, like you mentioned, to limit shower time, but they also reused their greywater from the sink and from the shower to do things like water their plants. Taking measures like this not only saves on the total amount of water used, but specifically fresh water that has been filtered. We do not need to water plants with drinkable freshwater, so using greywater is a good alternative.

  3. The most shocking part of this for me, which was also written in another article, is just how much of a difference could be made is people shortened their showers. Another lifestyle change that could be made would be to turn off the faucet when it’s not being used, such as while doing dishes or brushing your teeth. The little changes like this would make a world of a difference in the long run for our environment.

  4. I was really surprised to find out only 1% of water on Earth is available for human consumption. I agree that making simple lifestyle changes such as taking shorter showers or turning off the faucet after wetting your toothbrush can help us reduce our carbon footprint and environmental waste. Water shortages may not seem like they will actually happen in reality, but they are very much real and currently occurring in places like California. In South Africa, the country has already set a “Day Zero” which will occur in early 2019 if the drought problem cannot be solved.

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