Population increase coupled with climate change is leaving the world's freshwater resources in dire crisis.
Every year competition for a clean, copious supply of water for agriculture, industry, drinking, cooking, bathing, and sustaining life is increasing.
Did you know? 90% of global power generation is water-intensive. UNESCO, 2019
To reiterate that means 90% of all electricity globally is used to produce freshwater. Resources are intwined, using less water means you are using less electricity ie: saving power.
Why is water power-intensive?
Whilst the filtration process requires power, the intensive use of power is due to the transportation of freshwater from dam reservoirs to dwellings and buildings. Coupled with the transportation and disposal of wastewater.
How much of water supply is fueled by green energy?
The majority of water use and consumption by humans is for agriculture, industry and household.
How you can help.
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Residential Water Use
Through conscious residential water use combined with conscious consumer purchasing and consumption, you will quickly reduce your water use. This helps in two ways, firstly by conserving a precious resource and secondly saving your money.
What is the big deal, if 70% of the planet is water how are we in a shortage?
"While nearly 70% of the world is covered by water, only 2.5% of it is fresh. The rest is saline and ocean-based. Even then, just 1% of our freshwater is easily accessible, with much of it trapped in glaciers and snowfields. In essence, only 0.007% of the planet's water is available to fuel and feed its 7.7 billion people." National Geographic
Due to geography, climate, engineering, regulation, and competition for resources, some regions seem relatively flush with freshwater, while others face drought and debilitating pollution.
The keyword here is 'seem', our ever-increasing consumption demands of a billion gallons / litres every day all over the planet. This increased consumption coupled with climate change and over-population is a big problem.
An American statistic calculated freshwater usage at 3.9 trillion gallons of water per month, which is about 35000 gallons per day! Equal to 132490 litres per day (learn more).
How does a water filtration plant work?
Water from dams in Australia, while is considered freshwater, sill must flow through a filtration process. Filters are made of layers of sand and gravel. Sometimes crushed anthracite is used. Impurities are collected and to improve water quality chemicals added.
The next step is the disinfectant, the most common way is by using chemicals such as chlorine. UV light is another alternative, this does not kill bacteria but stops them being able to multiple.
In much of the developing world, clean water is either hard to come by or a commodity that requires laborious work or significant currency to obtain.
How much power is needed to process clean water?
Processing freshwater into drinking water and the transportation of the water uses a significant amount of energy. More than likely turning on a tap few people give this much thought.
The necessary energy used is why water conservation is imperative. Water consumption is part of a large eco-logical puzzle.
90% of global power generation is water-intensive. UNESCO, 2019
How much freshwater becomes wastewater?
Wastewater is the water you use and discard in abundance, quite a thought.
Used water from toilets, showers, baths, kitchen sinks, laundries and industrial processes is all classified wastewater. Runoff or stormwater from rainfall is also wastewater.
The transportation of freshwater and collect of wastewater are the two most significant uses of energy.
Relative to home use an average house uses 2,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity each month (learn more). For example, it takes approximately 475-1,400 kWh of energy to treat 300,000 gallons (1135623.54 litres) of wastewater.
"Pumping groundwater to the surface and overland through high elevations are energy-intensive processes. Pumping 17,000 ft3 (480 m3) of water a height of 330 ft (100 m) requires approximately 200 kilowatt-hours of electricity (learn more). In many major municipal areas, water is pumped hundreds of miles from its source before it is used."
Wherever you live, people need a clean water supply to survive. Human bodies are made up of 60% water, this alone demonstrates the necessity of freshwater sources.
Freshwater is beyond clean drinking water.
Lots of water is required to keep our Earth's eco-system going, that is all plants, animals, fish, as well as us, all need water to survive.
Manufacturing of clothing, building materials, paper... the list goes on.
Freshwater efficiency is vital to a healthy environment.
There are two factors of water use that we need to be aware of as this precious resource is being exploited every day.
Greenhouse gases are changing our climate, we will notice longer dry periods and more serve rainfall.
What can you do to save water?
At the moment most households and industry are using fresh drinking water for purposes that are not necessary.
We are literally flushing precious freshwater down the toilet.
'Consider' (be mindful) of your Domestic Water Use
The next time you open a can of soft drink, bottle of water consider where the water inside it came from.
The H20 in an Indian can of Coca-Cola includes treated rainwater, while the contents in the Maldives may once have been seawater. The water needs to come from such different sources for a reason – it’s because there is a global freshwater crisis.
The average person used between 130-170 litres of water per day.
Half Flush Toilets
The largest consumption of water in the household is used by flushing your toilet.
When possible always half flush.
You will be saving your self money as well as helping the environment.
The shocking truth that 1 hamburger equals the same quantity of water required as a 90 minutes shower.
Where ever possibly consider installing a rainwater tank. The overall cost will soon reward you in reduced water bills. Rainwater tanks can be used to water your garden, flush your toilet and in some cases as shower water. Depending on treatment techniques.
Greywater which is not toilet water, the pumping is separated and the shower and sink are connected to a wastewater tank. Garden like greywater as long as you are using detergents and soaps low in sodium and phosphorus.Which for your own body you should be.
Waterless toilets or ‘dry sanitation’ systems do not use water to treat or transport human excreta. If appropriately designed, they conserve precious water resources and avoid disposal of effluent and pollutants into waterways and the general environment.
They will also save money on water bills (learn more).
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To produce 1 hamburger the water usage is equal to a 90-minute shower. Unfortunately, as we have determined humans have proved to be inefficient water users.
The average hamburger takes 2,400 liters, or 630 gallons, of water to produce, and many water-intensive crops, such as cotton, are grown in arid regions.
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