Since 71% of the earth is covered in water, some people can't help but wonder: Why should we conserve?
Here are a few important facts about water on this planet from the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Reclamation:
- Ninety-seven percent of all water on the earth is salt water, which is not suitable for drinking.
- Only 3% of water on Earth is fresh water, and only 0.5% is available for drinking.
- The other 2.5% of fresh water is locked in ice caps, glaciers, the atmosphere, soil, or under the earth's surface, or is too polluted for consumption.
With growing population rates and such a small percentage of all the water on Earth fit for consumption, it only makes sense that we must preserve and conserve this precious resource.
Water conservation means using our limited water supply wisely and caring for it properly. Since each of us depends on water to sustain life, it is our responsibility to learn more about water conservation and how we can help keep our sources pure and safe for generations to come.
Our available water supply is finite. That means we do not have an endless amount of water.
In other words, water conservation is not a job that is reserved for scientists, hydrologists, foresters, wildlife managers, city planners, farmers, or mine owners. Instead, it is up to each and every one of us to conserve water.
Reasons to Conserve Water
Below are some of the main reasons it is important to conserve water.
- It minimizes the effects of drought and water shortages. Even though our need for fresh water sources is always increasing because of population and industry growth, the supply we have stays constant. Even though water eventually returns to Earth through the water cycle, it's not always returned to the same spot, or in the same quantity and quality. By reducing the amount of water we use, we can better protect against future drought years.
- It guards against rising costs and political conflict. Failing to conserve water can eventually lead to a lack of an adequate water supply, which can have drastic consequences. These include rising costs, reduced food supplies, health hazards, and political conflict.
- It helps to preserve our environment. Reducing our water usages reduces the energy required to process and deliver it to homes, businesses, farms, and communities, which, in turn, helps to reduce pollution and conserve fuel resources.
- It makes water available for recreational purposes. It's not just swimming pools, spas, and golf courses that we have to think about. Much of our freshwater resources are also used for beautifying our surroundings—watering lawns, trees, flowers, and vegetable gardens, as well as washing cars and filling public fountains at parks. Failing to conserve water now can mean losing out on such uses later on.
- It builds safe and beautiful communities: Firefighters, hospitals, gas stations, street cleaners, health clubs, gyms, and restaurants all require large amounts of water to provide services to the community. Reducing our usage of water now means that these services can continue to be provided.
Water conservation requires forethought and effort, but every little bit helps. Don't think that what you do does not matter. We can all make changes in our lifestyles to reduce our water usage. The trick is making water conservation a way of life—not just something we think about once in a while.