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Why Do We Need to Conserve Water?

Water is probably the most important substance for preserving life. In fact, scientists looking for evidence of life on other planets regard the presence of water as a vital clue. In developed nations we tend to take water for granted because it flows easily out of the tap. But we are rapidly depleting the global supply of fresh water, and this reality could potentially have dire consequences.

The Importance of Water

Our bodies need water to function properly. According to Water.org, humans can survive for weeks without food, but for only a few days without water. The plants and animals we eat require water as well, so water crises inevitably become food crises. We also use water for cleaning our bodies and our homes, and for producing power such as in hydroelectric dams. The World Water Council reports that the human population of the planet is on track to grow 40 to 50 percent within the next 50 years, putting additional pressure on our already shrinking supply of fresh water.

Vegetables, Meat and Water

Plants require water to grow. A growing human population consumes an increasing amount of food, which requires additional water. The animals that we eat consume water, and they also eat grains and grass that require water. Raising meat uses considerably more water than raising plant foods. As populations in different parts of the world become more affluent, they eat more meat and fewer plant-based foods. This shift places an added strain on the already short supply of fresh water.

Water and Global Warming

A hotter planet means an increased demand for water. Heat causes water to evaporate more quickly. Even if higher temperatures do not necessarily correlate with decreased rainfall, more of the water that does fall evaporates into the atmosphere rather than providing sustenance for crops. Hotter temperatures also diminish the amount of water available in lakes and rivers. Conserving water enables us to use our existing supply of water more efficiently.

Rarity of Fresh Water

According to Water.org, less than 1 percent of the water on the earth is readily available for human use, that is, it is fresh–rather than salty–and reasonably clean. Salt can be removed from the ample sea water through a process called desalinization, but this process is expensive enough that it is rarely used as an ongoing, practical solution for water scarcity issues. Water conservation is a straightforward, common sense way to make the most of the fresh water that we do have.

Water and Social Justice

The availability of fresh water is an important social justice issue, and this becomes increasingly the case as fresh water supplies become more scarce. Many fresh water sources in underdeveloped countries are polluted. These nations have also been disproportionately hard hit by climate change, in part because they lack sufficient resources to spread the word about the importance of preserving the vitality of the soil and preventing erosion. As a result, many of these regions are growing more arid, more urgently in need of fresh water. Conserving water in more prosperous places does not necessarily make it more available in the areas that need it most, but it does help to raise our level of awareness about the importance and increasing scarcity of fresh water.

Water Conservation- Needs and Methods

Water is a simple liquid that is of great importance for human life and sustenance. Water is a very large part of our lives.  In fact, 57% to 75% of our body is made out of the liquid. Water is very important for everyone living in this world, and to imagine life without water is impossible. There are about 1.4 billion people who don’t have access to clean drinking water, in the world of 6.8 billion people, 20.59% don’t have clean drinking water.  Obviously, water is a huge part of our daily lives and without it, you cannot live. Our daily activities are so much dependent on water that we cannot even live without water for a single day. We use water for many purposes such as drinking, washing, bathing, cleaning and agricultural purposes. Water is essential for life and it is very important to save water.

It is simply impossible to imagine human life without water, if there are no ample sources of water left then it would be a matter of great concern. Without water the will be no harvesting, no drinking water, no washing, cleaning and cooking as well. Hence it is very important to use our present water sources judiciously and try to save as much water as possible. It is very important to realize water conservation benefits and also to implement those in our day to day life. Water conservation encompasses the policies, strategies and activities to manage fresh water as a sustainable resource, and efforts to protect the water environment while maintaining a balance between current and future human demand. Population, household size and growth and affluence all affect how much water is used. Factors such as climate change will increase pressures on natural water resources, especially in manufacturing and agricultural irrigation. It is very important to realize the need for water conservation in the community as well as personal level.

Over the past few years a rapid growth in populations, modernization, growing industrialization, and expanding agriculture has pushed up the demand for water in the urban as well as rural areas. Human demands are increasing day by day but the natural resources are in a limited quantity. Efforts have been made to collect water by building dams and reservoirs, practicing rainwater harvesting, digging wells; some countries have also tried to recycle and desalinate salty water to make it fit for drinking or washing. Water conservation has become a major need of the hour. The idea of groundwater recharging by harvesting rainwater is gaining importance in many parts of the world and has been practiced successfully in many parts of the world.

Needs and Importance of Water Conservation

Water is an essential part of human life and plays a major role in human sustenance. We use water for drinking purpose, cooking, washing, for producing electricity, for farming, for industrial purpose and many other purposes that support the human lifestyle. Earth is about 70% water, but there is only a small amount of groundwater source that is fit for drinking and cooking purpose. Ninety – seven per cent of all the water on the earth is salt water which is not suitable for drinking. Only three per cent of all the water is fresh water, and only one per cent is available for drinking water. The other two per cent is locked in ice caps and glaciers. About 70% of the water source that is from the sea and oceans the major part contains saline water that is the salt level of this water is so high that it cannot be used for drinking purpose and purification process for this water is really high. Our water supply is finite, which means that we do not have an endless supply.

We only have the water that we have now. The adult human uses on average about 100 gallons of water a day which may seem to be a small figure but with the rising population and depleting water sources there is a fear that one day there will not be enough water sources available to meet even drinking demands. Seawater that is highly salty as a result is not fit for human consumption and not even for industrial purpose or for producing electricity. Since this water contains a high amount of salts, therefore, using this water in industries and for producing electricity leads to salt deposition on the machinery and this at times can get really dangerous and lead to some major industrial disasters. Hence sea water is of no major use for humans.  

As we discussed earlier that water resources are finite and there is only 3% of freshwater sources, with all the people on Earth relying on such a small percentage of all the water on Earth, it only makes sense that we must preserve and conserve our water for our own survival otherwise a day will come when all the water sources will be extinguished. Besides conserving water it is also important that we must not pollute our water sources because it is the only water we will ever have. There are a lot of people who do not realize the importance of water, and they are continually wasting and polluting it. Only about ten per cent of wastewater is disposed of properly.

It is a high time that we must start saving water today so that it will be available to us in the future. We need to think of future generations, if we go on wasting our water resources recklessly then it is obvious that in future we will not have a sufficient supply of water unless we become more concerned with how we use our water today. There are many things that we can do to help preserve water. These are not things that are hard. All it takes is a little bit of extra effort, and soon it will be second nature. Save the water, that’s all we can do.

Major Uses of Water

We all enjoy many benefits of fresh water and use it for a majority of purpose like making electricity, cleaning, cooking, irrigating, etc. major uses of water are:

  • We use water for the daily household purpose like drinking, cleaning, washing and cooking etc.
  • Water is majorly used for agricultural activities.
  • Most widely used method of producing electricity requires water as a major source.
  • Water is used for many industrial purposes.
  • Commercial applications

Water Conservation

It is often a misconception that water conservation is the job of government departments and environmental analysts which is not true, in fact water conservation is not a job that is just for these technician, soil scientist, hydrologist, forester, wildlife manager, plant scientist, city planner, park manager, farmer, rancher, or mine owner alone but involves a collective effort at community as well as personal level by every household. It is a job for the everyday person who just likes to have access to the life-sustaining resource of water. It is very important that we must all recognize that water conservation is our personal responsibility and not just leave it up to other people. It has been observed that a lot of times we tend to think that my small effort would be of no use, but if we all start thinking the same way then everyone will become ignorant and there will be an effort in this field. A collection of small effort by many people makes a lot of difference.

We all enjoy benefits of water in many ways, so it becomes our moral duty to care about our water resource and take necessary steps towards conserving our water resources. There is no need of doing something big; instead, some small practices can bear some big results. We need to ensure that we do not waste our water resources and are really vigilant in case there are any running taps.

We must learn to save water now for the future. The quality of our water is very important. We have the same amount of water now as there was when the earth was created and it is very important to realize that this is the water we have, and we must preserve its quality. Each and every effort towards water conservation counts. Water is the foundation of food and life and it would not be wrong to say that next to air, water is the most precious resource for human life and it is impossible to live without water. Saving water helps to preserve our environment. Saving water now means having water available in the future for recreational purposes, too. Conserving the water minimizes the effects of water shortages and helps us to build a better defense against future drought years. If we save water now, we are helping to ensure a water supply adequate for future generations.

Water conservation programs are typically initiated at the local level or community level, by either municipal water utilities or regional governments. Common strategies for water conservation include public outreach campaigns, tiered water rates by charging progressively higher prices as water use increases, or restrictions on outdoor water use such as lawn watering and car washing during the summer season. It is important to realize benefits and also to practice water conservation techniques in our routine life.

Methods of Conserving Water

The most important step in the direction of finding solutions to issues of water and environmental conservation is to change people’s attitudes towards the fact and also changing habits which include each one of us to put in some sincere efforts. Conserve water because it is the right time to do so. We can follow some of the simple things that have been listed below and contribute to water conservation.

  • Every drop of water counts, so make sure you are not wasting clean drinking water and you are not leaving any running tap.
  • Remember to use only the amount you actually need and not wasting the water unnecessarily.
  • It has been found beneficial to form a group of water-conscious people at school, college or society level and encourage your friends and neighbors to be part of this group. Promote water conservation in community newsletters and on bulletin boards. Encourage your friends, neighbors and co-workers to also contribute.
  • Plant more and more trees to increase transpiration.
  • Encourage rainwater harvesting at the community level as well as municipal level.
  • Make sure that your home is leak-free and there are no leaking taps or tanks storing water. Many homes have leaking pipes that go unnoticed. Call a plumber as soon as you notice any leakage.
  • Do not leave the tap running while you are brushing your teeth or soaping your face.
  • When washing the car, use water from a bucket and not a hosepipe which helps to reduce about 50% of the water used for washing your car.
  • While watering your lawns do not waste water and use only the amount that is required.
  • Do not throw away water that has been used for washing vegetables and use it to water plants or to clean the floors, etc.

Some other technical methods may include rainwater harvesting at the major level which has following advantages:

  • Increases water availability
  • Checks the declining water table
  • Is environmentally friendly
  • Improves the quality of groundwater through the dilution of fluoride, nitrate, and salinity
  • Prevents soil erosion and flooding especially in urban areas

Conclusion
Water conservation is a big thing and involves using water sources judiciously, but every little bit helps, every drop that you save counts so don’t think that what you do doesn’t matter. A whole lot of people doing a little bit adds up to a big total. We must all make some little changes in our lifestyles that will change the course of our water. It takes just a small amount of motivation and willingness to bring about a change which brings in some great results and a huge amount of satisfaction. Water conservation needs to be a way of life, not just something we think about once in a while. If we all do our part in conserving water, we can make a huge difference for the environment.

How to conserve water

If we all do our part in conserving precious water supplies, we can make a huge difference for the environment.

The average person uses around 140 litres of water a day. But huge water deficits are on track to occur by the 2080s – so we need to start cutting down.

Water conservation means using water wisely and not contributing to unnecessary wastage.

Top reasons to conserve water:

  • Conserving water saves energy. Energy is needed to filter, heat and pump water to your home, so reducing your water use also reduces your carbon footprint.
  • Using less water keeps more in our ecosystems and helps to keep wetland habitats topped up for animals like otters, water voles, herons and fish. This is especially important during drought periods and in areas like South East England where there is a big demand on water supplies. 
  • Conserving water can save you money. If you have a water meter then the less water you use, the less you may be charged by your water company. 

Waiting for the tap to run cold can waste 10 litres of tap water a day!

 Save water in the kitchen

  • Put a large bottle of tap water in the fridge to save waiting for the tap to run cold. Waiting for the tap to run cold can waste 10 litres of water a day! 
  • Only fill the kettle with the amount of water needed.
  • Put lids on saucepans to reduce the amount of water lost during heating.
  • Put your dishwasher and washing machine on with full loads and on an eco-setting wherever possible.
  • Use a washing-up bowl in your sink to reduce the volume of water you use to fill the area.

Save water in the bathroom:

  • Turn the tap off while brushing your teeth. A running tap can waste more than 6 litres of water a minute!
  • Purchase a water-efficient toilet (one with a dual flush) or go by the old saying ‘if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down!’
  • Get a cistern displacement device to save up to 5,000 litres of water every year. They are free from most water companies.
  • Shower instead of bathe. An average bath uses around 80 litres of water, but a shower typically uses between 6 and 45 litres.
  • Install water-efficient taps and showers to minimise heating water – this will save you money on your water and energy bills, as well as decreasing your carbon footprint.
  • Fix a dripping tap. A dripping tap can waste 15 litres of water a day!

Save water in the garden:

  • Sprinklers can use as much as 1,000 litres of water an hour! In truth, it’s okay for the lawn to go brown, it will recover the next time it rains.
  • Use a water butt to catch large amounts of rainwater and use this to water your plants, clean your car and wash your windows.
  • Use mulch and bark in your garden, it will help to reduce evaporation by up to 75%.
  • Plant drought-resistant plants that don’t require as much watering.

More useful tips and in-depth information can be found on the Friends of Waterbury Reservoir website.

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