Some quick water reminders
Water takes up seventy-five percent of the earth’s surface. However usable fresh water makes up a very small percentage, which makes fresh water to be a precious and valuable resource. The oceans make up ninety percent of the water and two percent of fresh water is trapped as ice either in glaciers, snowy mountain ranges or ice caps. That leaves a whopping one percent of usable fresh water. This water is stored in soil (aquifers) or bedrock fractures beneath the ground (ground water) or in lakes, rivers, and streams on the earth’s surface (surface water). Water consists of 50-70 percent of weight in plants and animals, including humans. Therefore all living things need water in order to survive.
Just about the same amount of water exists today that existed from the formation of the earth, but the present demand for water has grown faster than the population. Since the 1950’s that demand has tripled over the world, therefore all countries are faced with water management issues. The big question arises… “How can we satisfy the human need for water while maintaining the integrity of the ecological balance of the water’s natural system?” Thus, water management will continue to face the human race as we go further into the 21st century. These issues are ever-present and can lead to social, cultural, and economic impacts.
The largest consumer of fresh water is agriculture. This industry uses about 42 percent. The next largest consumer, at about 39 percent, is with the production of electricity. Urban and rural homes use about 11 percent and the remaining 8 percent is used in mining and manufacturing.
As far as indoor water use, every American uses about 150 gallons of water per day, which translates to about 39 billion gallons per day in the United States. Toilets use up 30 percent, which means about five to seven gallons per flush. Showers and baths use about one-third of household use. A dishwasher uses less water than washing by hand, ten gallons versus 16 gallons, respectively. A leaky faucet wastes 2,300 gallons of water per year.