Water is one of the most valuable resources to human life on this planet. So, why don’t we treat it as such? Water shortages have already started to affect the world in places like Cape Town, Sao Paulo, Melbourne, Jakarta, London, Beijing, Istanbul, Tokyo, Bangalore, Barcelona, and Mexico City. All of which have or will be approaching day zero within the next couple of decades.
Day zero is a term that was thrown around in Cape Town, South Africa in 2018. It's the day that four million residents were set to have their running water shut off indefinitely. It's the day that they would have to participate in water rations. Water would only be available at designated city water stations. Day Zero is counting down for Sao Paulo, Melbourne, Jakarta, London, Beijing, Istanbul, Tokyo, Bangalore, Barcelona, and Mexico City too.
By 2040, most of the world won’t have enough water to meet demand year-round. Here are some current facts
- We waste about 45 trillion gallons of water every year through 1.3 billion tons of food.
- The average family wastes 9,400 gallons from leaks annually, and 3.44 gallons per shower.
- California is in the worst drought it’s seen in well over a century.
- We’re drawing on aquifers that take millennia to replenish.
- The Hoover Dam is reaching record lows.
- The worlds agricultural system is not set up to be efficient with water
Simply put, we are dramatically undervaluing water, and that's a huge problem. We don’t perceive water as a finite and scarce resource it is because we can turn on the tap whenever we want. But freshwater is a finite resource, and if we don’t start to use our water resourcefully, we will run out.
Now, you might be thinking, well, how we can we possibly run out of water if 71% of the world is made up of it? Well, 97% of all the water on earth is saltwater, 2% of freshwater is trapped at the poles, and the entire world relies on the remaining 1% of freshwater. And, out of that 1% of freshwater that is readily available to us, most of it is expensive to extract from the ground. Although it may not seem like a lot, that 1% of water is still plenty of freshwaters for the world to survive on. The catch is that we need to waste less and conserve more.
Why can't we just use desalinization and use 97% of saltwater? Although it’s a potential source of water in the future, it doesn’t work yet. Live Science wrote an article on why desalinization doesn’t work yet here: Live Science - Why Desalinization Doesn't Work
As you can see, 70% of our Freshwater use is agriculture, 22% is industry, and 8% is personal. The majority of our water goes into the ingredients that go into our foods. For example, it takes 510 liters of water to grow one kilogram of Alph alfa, the primary ingredient in cattle feed. The average cow consumes about 12kg per day, so when you divide it up, the average quarter-pound hamburger uses about 1,650 liters of water. Here’s a link to a Netflix episode that dives into our water consumption more here: Explained | World's Water Crisis | FULL EPISODE | Netflix
We know that personal use is accountable for 8% of all water consumption, so we work with our utility clients to incentivize water products as often as possible. As a result, with the help of our innovative marketplace technology, we sell hundreds of thousands of water kits each year. Getting water-saving technology into homes all across America.
How Can We Make A Difference At Home?
So, can we make even a difference at home? The answer is yes. Here are 10 ways on how you can make a difference at home.
1. Watersense products: Watersene is the ENERGY STAR of the water conservation world. By purchasing water products that are Watersense certified, you are not only going to be saving water yourself, but you also are going to be supporting a company that stands for water conservation.
2. Efficient Shower Heads: Traditional showerheads have a flow rate at or above 2.5 gallons per minute where are low-flow energy-efficient shower heads have a flow rate of about 1.8 gallons per minute. An excellent showerhead that we recommend checking out in the Delmei 1.5 gallon per minute Showerhead 3000. This showerhead is only $9.99, and it is one of the most water-efficient showerheads on the market. It can be found in our Whole Home Energy Efficiency Kit here: Whole Home Energy Efficiency Kit
3. Faucets, and Faucet Aerators: By replacing old faucets and faucet aerators with WaterSense models, the average American family can save 700 gallons of water per year. 700 gallons is equivalent to the amount of water we use in 45 showers. An excellent faucet aerator that we recommend checking out is the Niagara .5 gallon per minute needle spray faucet aerator. It can be found in our Whole Home Energy Efficiency Kit here: Whole Home Energy Efficiency Kit
4. Low Flow Toilets: Low flow toilets are a great way to start saving water. The average toilet uses about 3.5 gallons of water per flush, and the average low-flow toilet uses 1.6 gallons. By simply installing low-flow toilets, you can use 54% less water in your bathroom.
5. Take shorter showers. It might not seem like you'd be saving a lot by cutting down your shower time by five minutes a day, but it can have quite the impact. For example, the average person takes about 10 minutes in the shower. So, if you cut that 10 minutes to 5 minutes, you'd be saving 50% of the water you would previously use for that shower. For example, let's say that your showerhead allows 2.5 gallons of water to flow through it per minute, that would mean that in a ten-minute shower, you would use 25 gallons. By cutting down shower times by five minutes, you would save 12.5 gallons of water per day, and 4,562.5 gallons per year.
6. Check your toilet for leaks. Put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet bowl, and see if the food coloring dissolves without flushing the toilet. If the food coloring disappears, it's likely that you have a leak in your toilet and that you're wasting up to 100 gallons of water per day. Totaling 36,500 gallons per year.
7. Turn off the water when you're brushing your teeth. The average sink has a flow rate of about 1.5 gallons per minute. So, if you brush your teeth for two minutes a day (one in the morning and one at night), then you're probably wasting 2.5 gallons a day. Totaling up to 912.5 gallons per year.
8. Do not prewash your dishes if you don't need to. Modern dishwashers and detergents are designed to be able to deal with pretty much anything you can have on your dishes and cups. By prewashing your dishes, you're not only wasting water, but you're also wasting your time. However, let's say that you do prewash your dishes and it takes about 5 seconds per dish. There are normally about 20 dishes per dishwasher cycle, 50 pieces of silverware, and about 20 cups. Totalling 90 items that would need to be pre-rinsed. By spending 5 seconds pre-rinsing your dishes, your spending a total of 450 seconds, or 7 1/2 minutes cleaning your dishes before they go into the dishwasher. Based on the previous point, over 7 1/2 minutes, you would be using 11.25 gallons of water per cycle. Let's say that you run your dishwasher twice a week, which means that you're wasting 22.5 gallons per week or 1,170 gallons per year.
9. Use your washing machine to only do full loads. Traditional washing machines use 29-45 gallons of water per load whereas the most water-efficient washers use 15-30. By only running your washing machine with full loads, you're going to save a significant amount of water year-round. For example, Let's say that your washing machine uses 35 gallons per use and that you run it four times a week. That's 7,280 gallons of water per year. By simply eliminating one wash per week, you will cut your water use from 7,280 to 5,460. Eliminating 1,820 gallons of water and cutting your washing machine water use by 25%.
10. Be conscious of your water use. There isn't a simple solution to our freshwater problem. There has to be worldwide reform in the way that we think about water. We have to start treating freshwater as the valuable and finite resource that it is. This is a constant problem that will continuously need to be addressed as time goes on, or we will run out.
Tech Insider - Sink faucet nozzle cuts water use by 98%