According to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals Report in 2012, 11 percent of the world’s population, 783 million people, do not have access to clean drinking water. The United Nations and many other humanitarian organizations have been working for decades to address this global water crisis. The conservation of water is important for many systems in poorer, rural countries, like septic systems and drinking wells. Insufficient water supplies stifle industry and agriculture in developing countries, and, most importantly, fail to meet basic human needs.
The United Nations General Assembly affirmed that access to clean water is not a privilege, but a right delegated to all human beings. Water should be affordable, accessible, and safe for consumption and use. With the world population growing and freshwater sources being threatened by pollution, it is more important than ever for the world to engage in water sustainability projects and for individuals to conserve water.
While water is considered a renewable resource, this does not matter if water is being consumed faster than it can replenish itself. If more people do not take to examining their water consumption, massive problems will arise as the world population grows and more people in the developing world crave clean, fresh, usable water.
Here are 5 ways that people can conserve water:
1. Check for leaks.
A lot of water is lost per day due to leaks in things like faucets and toilets. One of the most effective ways to save, water – 10 gallons a day per person on average – is to repair leaky pipes and sinks.
2. Upgrade to water-efficient fixtures.
Instead of just fixing fixtures for leaks, installing water-efficient fixtures like low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets is one of the best ways to conserve water. In fact, in 1994, the US government mandated these low-flow efficient fixtures. Front-loading washing machines are water-efficient as well, compared to their top-load counterparts.
3. Do not leave the water on unnecessarily.
Water is going to be needed for many daily tasks such as shaving and hand washing, but try to minimize the time the faucet stays on. When shaving or washing the dishes by hand, do not leave the faucet running. Every minute of water conserved saves many gallons daily. By shortening a shower by a few minutes each month, hundreds of gallons can be saved.
4. Use water-consuming machines to their maximum capacities.
Use the washing machine or dishwasher when loads are full. Operating these machines with smaller loads on full cycles wastes massive amounts of water. If smaller loads are necessary, optimize the settings of the wash so that the least amount of water possible is used.
This may not seem like a way to conserve water, but nearly 5% of US water consumption is centered on powering industries that create consumables. Recycling a pound of paper saves around 3.5 gallons of water. So, buy only what is necessary and try to buy recycled goods.
- Rahul Shah