Water Conservation

You probably don't think much about water, even though you use it every day. There's a lot of water on our planet, but we can only use a small amount of it. Water covers about 70 percent of the earth, but only about three percent of it is fresh water. Most of the fresh water, about 75 percent, is in the form of ice. In fact, the frozen areas of the world have as much fresh water as all of the world's rivers will carry for the next 1,000 years. The demand for unpolluted fresh water is increasing because the earth's population is increasing.

How Much Water Does the Average Person Use?

Here are a few statistics about water use in your home:
  • In the home, each person uses about 70 gallons of water a day.
  • It takes three gallons to flush a toilet.
  • It takes 15 to 30 gallons to take a bath.
  • It takes five gallons for a one-minute shower.
  • It takes 10 gallons to wash dishes.
This is a lot of water, but more than half of the water used in the United States is used by industries. For example, it takes 250 tons of water to make a ton of newspaper and 10 gallons to produce one gallon of gasoline. Given these facts, it’s understandable why it’s so important to conserve water.

Checking for Leaks

The average household's leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year and ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day. Common types of leaks found in the home are worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves. These types of leaks are often easy to fix, requiring only a few tools and hardware that can pay for themselves in water savings. Fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills.

To check for leaks in your home, you first need to determine whether you're wasting water and then identify the source of the leak. Use this Detect and Chase Down Leaks Checklist to find out if your home has any hidden leaks.

Sharing Waters

Anglers and boaters are not the only ones who use bodies of water and have an effect on fish populations. Industries and power plants use large amounts of water. Communities need water for drinking. Farmers use it to water their crops and livestock. Barges and ships use waterways to bring products to market. Water is also used for waste disposal. The demands for water use can cause conflicts among those using available resources.