Importance of Water Conservation
Fresh, clean water is a limited resource. While most of the planet is covered in water, it is salt water that can only be consumed by humans and other species after undergoing desalination, which is an expensive process. Occurrences such as droughts further limit access to clean and fresh water, meaning people need to take steps to reduce water use and save as much water as possible. In some areas of the world, access to water is limited due to contamination. People who have access to fresh water can take steps to limit their use of water to avoid waste.
The Why and How of Water Conservation
People should do their best to conserve water for three reasons. The less water used or wasted by people, the less clean water will become contaminated. In some cases, using excess amounts of water puts strain on septic and sewage systems, leading to contamination of groundwater, as untreated, dirty water seeps from the sewage system into the ground.
Water conservation reduces energy use and can even save households money. Most families pay to use water in their cities or regions. The less water a household uses, the less they have to pay each period. Appliances that use water, such as washing machines and dishwashers, also use a considerable amount of energy.
Conserving water now allows cities and regions to plan for more efficient use of the water resources in the future. If most of an area's clean water is wasted, there will not be water for future generations to use, meaning the city will need to come up with new ways to produce clean, fresh water, which will ultimately be at the taxpayers' expense.
Why Conserve Water - From Penn State on the importance of water conservation.
Conserving Water - Description of Best Management Practices for water conservation, from the University of Minnesota.
Why Conserve - Information on water conservation in a desert region, from the Utah government's Department of Water Resources.
Why Water Efficiency - Information and tips on saving water from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Water Conservation - The importance of water conservation to protect spots such as Mono Lake, in California.
Future Water - Information on Future Water, a program from the National Environmental Services Center designed to educate people about the importance of water conservation.
Water Quality (PDF) - Pamphlet from Purdue University on the importance of saving water at home.
Conserving Water (PDF) - Kid-friendly brochure from Texas A&M University on saving water.
Tips for Saving Water
People can save water by making smart choices at home. They should only use appliances that rely on water when those appliances are full. For example, a family should wait to use the dishwasher until it is completely loaded with dishes. Surprisingly, using the dishwasher uses less water than washing by hand. Other ways to conserve water include taking shorter showers and only watering gardens and lawns when necessary.
Older toilets use around five or six gallons of water every time they are flushed. If the toilet cannot be replaced, one way to save water is to put a brick or a soda bottle full of water into the tank. The brick will displace water, meaning less is needed. New models of toilet use around 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Some models also have a dual flush option, meaning more water is used only when necessary.
Conserving Water At Home - Quick and simple tips for saving water at home from the University of Maine.
Water Conservation Facts (PDF) - Fun facts about saving water at home.
Plumbing Responsibilities - Guide to responsible plumbing in Philadelphia. Also include information on programs residents can enroll in to receive help conserving water.
Water Conservation - Be Water Smart, Not Water Short - Tips on water conservation for homes and businesses.
Water Conservation - Advice from FEMA for saving water all around the house, both indoors and outdoors.
Water Conservation Tips (PDF) - Tips on saving water, plus estimated savings each month, from the state of Rhode Island.
50 Ways to Save Water - Image showing ways people can save water around their home.
Educational Resources for Water Conservation
Teachers who wish to teach students about the importance of water conservation can find plenty of lesson plans and activities online. The lessons teach students the importance of saving water and provide tips for saving water at home or school.
Water Conservation Lesson Plan - Lesson plan for middle school students on saving water at home.
The Water Cycle - Information and explanation on the water cycle from the US Geological Survey.
Water Cycle and Water Conservation (PDF) - Lesson plan from the EPA on the water cycle and conservation.
Water Education - Resources for students and teachers in Tuscon, AZ about water conservation.
Water Conservation Games - Fun games to help students learn about water from Miami-Dade County.
SWISH - Student Water Investigators Showing How - Program from the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia that teaches students about water use and waste.
School Water Audit - Information on how students and teachers can perform a school water audit.
H20 Conserve - Facts and quizzes about water use.