World Water Day was celebrated March 22. In honor of that day, this column is dedicated to all things water.
Everyone has heard about water conservation, but what does that really mean? All it means is using less water.
Before we use less water, though, we need to understand why we are doing it.
The earth is covered in approximately 70 percent water. However, not all of this water is drinkable — only about 2.5 percent of the earth’s water is fresh water, and most of that water is in glaciers, leaving just one-third of that 2.5 percent accessible and usable as drinking water.
In light of how little drinkable water is really available to us, conserving the water we use really starts to make sense.
Sometimes conserving water seems like a daunting task, but there are some easy steps you can take to cut down on your water usage, which are good for the planet and your wallet:
- When you have ice left in your cup from a take-out restaurant, don’t throw it in the trash; dump it on a plant.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth — it can save up to 25 gallons a month.
- Keep a bucket in the shower to catch water as it warms up or runs. Use this water to flush toilets or water plants.
- When you are washing your hands, don’t let the water run while you lather.
- Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing it can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
To see more ways to save water, check out wateruseitwisely.com/100-ways-to-conserve.
Researchers say it takes nearly three times the amount of water in the average water bottle to manufacture the plastic for the bottle. That means it takes about 3 liters of water to create a 1-liter water bottle.
Most bottled water says “spring water” or “purified water” on the label. There is a difference between the two, but most people don’t realize it.
Spring water comes from an underground spring, and purified water is water that comes from a municipal source and has received further treatment.
Spring water can only be derived from certain locations, while purified water can be produced locally.
A great and easy way to reduce your water consumption is to buy a reusable water bottle and fill it up from a faucet. This not only helps to cut down on your water usage, but it also costs less and creates less plastic that needs to be recycled.
The EPA regulates tap water so you know it’s safe to drink. If you still desire filtered water, a great option is buying a pitcher with a filter in it. Then you can have your filtered water without wasting all the water it takes to make a plastic bottle.
If you want to calculate how much water you use compared to the average person, check out the water footprint calculator at tinyurl.com/waterfootprintcalculator.
Amanda Wheeler is a Danville resident who has worked as an educator at the Cincinnati Zoo. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in zoology.