The world is running out of water. Lakes, rivers and streams are starting to dry up domestically and internationally. In the US alone, towns are being shut down in California and people are being forced to leave their homes due to water shortages caused by the Colorado River drying up. Water conservation is a larger priority now than it ever has been and reducing our consumption is key.
By 2030, water demand is expected to exceed current supply by 40 percent, according to the Water Resources Group, an arm of the World Bank (1). We have finite resources on the planet and water is one of those resources that is being decimated quickly by our daily actions and societal norms. There a handful of common activities that we partake in on a daily basis and items that we buy that are causing our precious water resources to be depleted. Here’s a list of number of those items, the amount of water that is used in these processes and solutions to reduce the consumption of water from these activities.
Gardening : Running a sprinkler for two hours can use up to 1800 gallons of water (2)
Solution : Composting and other organic materials such as mulch can significantly reduce the amount of water you use in your garden. You can also dry garden. In 2012, a few friends and I reclaimed a piece of land that had unfortunately become an illegal garbage dump site in our neighborhood. We cleaned the land up and turned it into an Organic Flower Farm and we have not had a single source of water other than rain available to us since inception. Yet the flowers that we have we grown are beautiful, full and luscious because we applied proper water management techniques such as composting, mulching, and constant hand-aerating of the soil. You can also consider adding a rain-barrel water catchment system and hooking a hose up to the barrel to water your plants.
Processed Pet Food : About 200 gallons of water are used to make $1 worth of pet food (3)
Solution : Rather than buying canned or bagged pet food, buy fresh meats, vegetables, seeds and other items that your pets love to eat and prepare their meals.
Home maintenance : Many of us use water to wash down our driveways and the siding of our homes and these activities can use hundreds of gallons of water per hour (4)
Solution : Sweep driveways, walkways and sidewalks with a broom and use a swifter stick to clean home sidings and rooftops.
Showering : One 5 minute shower using traditional shower heads consumes 20 gallons of water (5)
Solution : A high efficiency shower head can reduce water consumption by 33 percent. (6)
Meat and dairy consumption : 29 percent of the world’s water usage is used in meat and dairy production. It takes an average 2,100 gallons of water to produce 1 lb. of beef and 140 gallons of water to make $1 worth of milk. (7)
Solution : Partake in Meatless Mondays and consume more fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes at every meal.
Paper Production and Usage : It takes about six gallons of water to produce one dollar worth of paper. (8)
Solution : Buy recycled printer and notebook paper
Power usage : A staggering 95 liters of water are used to produce 1 kWH (kilowatt hour) of electricity (9)
Solution : Switch to natural gas as about 10 gallons of water gets used to produce 1,000 kWh of electricity in this process.
About the Author: Michael Forman is a native of Bronx, NY and has lived in NYC for almost his entire life. Michael is the Executive Farm Director of Pure Love Organic Farms, an organic, urban Farm which he and three other friends created in 2012 from a former garbage dump-site and also works as the North American Account Manager for Totally Green in the Sustainable Technologies field (www.feedtheorca.com). Michael’s big picture goal is to create a solution to the water issues that are happening in the Western part of the United States through organic agricultural practices and make organic farming available to young farmers.