Less than 1 percent of the world’s
water is available for human use. The rest is mostly in our salty oceans
(97.5% of it), with much
of the remaining 2.5% locked up in glaciers and icecaps (the largest
being Greenland and Antarctica), or beyond our reach underground.
This limited-water situation has worked adequately for humans, and just
fine for lucky Ohioans living so close to the Great Lakes - the largest
surface area of freshwater in the world. But the Earth’s population
has grown to over 6 billion, and water demand has increased 6-fold between
1900 and 1995. Competition for this vital resource has resulted in:
- Over 1 billion people worldwide without access to clean drinking
- The Pentagon predicting conflict in areas where resources are limited,
- Large corporations such as Coca Cola buying water tables, sometimes
leaving farmers high and dry
- A legal battle between the U.S. and Mexico over diverted Colorado
- Water flowing in the Colorado, Nile, Yellow, Ganges, Rio Grande
and many other rivers rarely flowing all the way to the
oceans and gulfs, due to the amount of diversions
There has been much talk recently about climate change, as there should
be. We might survive with climate change, although not well. But all
living creatures need water for basic survival, and the growing water
crisis is cause for equal concern. We all know to reduce our energy use,
and should be doing the same with water.
According to the EPA, the average U.S. family of four uses 400 gallons
of water daily, with about 70% of it used indoors, and mostly in the
bathroom. Your toilet alone may account for about 30% of usage.
Some easy tips include (from “wateruseitwisely.com”):
- Take showers for 5 minutes or less, not baths. This saves up to
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 4 gallons/minute.
shaving, fill the sink versus letting the water run.
- When you are washing
your hands, don’t run the water while you
- Save over 50 gallons/week by turning the water off while you
shampoo and condition your hair.
- Soak your pots and pans instead of letting the water run
while you scrape them clean.
- Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator
instead of running the tap for cold drinks.
- More plants die from over-watering
than from under-watering. Be sure only to water plants when necessary.
- If your shower can fill a 1-gallon bucket in
under 20 seconds, replace it with a low-flow showerhead. They can
save over 500 gallons a week.
- Put food coloring
in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl, you have
a leak. It's easy to fix, and you can save more than 600 gallons a
Visit this EPA website to find more tips on how to save water: http://www.epa.gov/watersense/index.htm.
On this site, you can also find the EPA’s WaterSense labeling program
for water-efficient products, similar to EnergyStar labels on products
that are energy efficient. Some products that may be evaluated are: bathroom
faucets, toilets, laundries, soil moisture sensors, and more.