While 70 percent of the Earth is covered by water, it is still considered a precious resource because only a very small amount is freshwater and an even smaller amount is safe for human use. According to the USGS, a miniscule three percent of the planet has freshwater resources, less than one percent of the total water on Earth is considered fit for use. Therefore, it is important to conserve water; it has many important uses in terms of human activity, and the growing world population threatens to destroy the small amount of the planet has remaining.
Depleting the Water Supply
Water uses are seemingly endless. It comes in handy for a million purposes, above and beyond the obvious ones such as drinking, washing and watering plants. Water is also a renewable natural resource, is used to put out fires, and has many manufacturing applications. In short, water is essential to all of life's daily activities. There are numerous issues that necessitate the need to be judicious when using water.
Population Growth and Water Resources
According to Savewater, the population of the planet has grown considerably since 1900. It is expected to further increase by "45 percent in the next thirty years, whilst freshwater runoff is expected to increase by 10 percent." As an example, of what this means, water shortages and droughts are already common in some parts of the world, but a water shortage is estimated to become a worldwide problem as soon as 2020, due to water pollution and over consumption.
Over Consumption of Water
Not having enough water, or having poor quality water, is an issue facing approximately one-third of the world's population. Lack of water causes disease, malnourishment and crop failure and has also cost billions of dollars in damage to the environment. All around the world, nations are facing issues from over consumption of water. In America, the Colorado River doesn't always flow all the way to the ocean because so much water is drawn from it to provide for human use, such as agricultural irrigation, drinking, and manufacturing. The Aral Sea, a saline lake located in the former Soviet Union is rapidly drying up as the waters that feed it are diverted to be used in agriculture, resulting in over a 60 percent decrease in the lake's water level. In Australia, the Snowy River's flow was drastically reduced to one percent by diverting its flow some 225 miles before environmental measures were put in place to increase it. The struggle and battle continues.
Although the natural "water cycle" of evaporation, condensation, precipitation, runoff and percolation cleans and recycles water, it doesn't replenish water quickly enough for human use. Therefore, before water is fit for human consumption, it is first put through a water treatment plant. After being used, it is put through wastewater treatment plants or septic systems prior to being returned into the environment.
Saving water helps to protect the environment. By not wasting water, you save it for fish and animals that depend on it. You also protect drinking water supplies. And wastewater treatment plants won't have to work as hard if there is less water going down the drain. Saving water also saves energy. By using less water, you save on the energy that it takes to treat water and move the water from the treatment plant to the faucet, as well as the energy it takes to heat water. If that isn't motivation enough, conserving water also saves you money. Whether you get your water from the tap or buy it in a bottle, water costs money. By using less water, you spend less money.
There are many ways you can conserve water in your home. greywater systems can provide water for lawns, flower gardens and even washing vehicles. Installing low-flow shower heads and low-flush toilets are two additional ways you can save water in your home. As the population of the Earth grows, there will be less and less water available for human use, making it very important that we conserve water and not waste it.