Is America Running out of Drinking Water?

Each month, 3.9 million gallons of drinking water is consumed in the US and for many Americans, the idea that the country might someday run out of fresh water is horrifying. Global water consumption has tripled in the last 50 years and the demand for fresh water in the US is estimated to exceed the supply by 40% by the year 2030, according to a report. This is quite alarming, although we have faced severe droughts over the past years. This water scarcity that we might confront with results from short- and long-term droughts and of course, human activity.

The amount of water that we use in the United States is so significant that we are running out of fresh water. Aquifers are drying up. Whilst this may mean some businesses need to find out how to switch your water supplier, for others this means that the chance of having no water at all is very high in the future, and so we need to consider changing our water retention system. For example, Germany has long ago been on an austerity program as far as the use of water and interestingly enough, their water consumption is done in such a way that the water table is rising. And it is rising to the point that they are actually having problems with building supports and basements. If we start using our heads and getting more involved in conservation, we might duplicate what is going on with Germany and the aquifers and reservoirs could indeed be refilled in a relatively short period of time.

3/4 Million Gallons per Capita Use of Drinking Water Annually

According to a recently issued report by The Journal of the American Geophysical Union, the last 3 years of California drought have been the worse experienced in 1,200 years, with 2014 being the worst of all. Scientists came to this conclusion after studying the growth rings in over 200 ancient California trees and coordinating results with at least one university. Some of the solutions that are believed to contribute long term to more available water come in the form of:

  • diverting rain runoff into more reservoirs
  • employing seawater to drinking water processes
  • constructing wastewater reuse facilities
  • weather manipulation, either individually or in combination

More conservation should be employed in the short term and it appears that diet changes can also have an impact on the draught as well. With all of us being part of the problem, we must all make personal choices to be part of the cure! The 3/4 million gallons per capita use of water annually for all uses in the US is simply unsustainable. At home, people can save water by using:

  • drought resistant landscaping
  • low flow toilets
  • low water clothes and dishwashing appliances
  • shower flow controls
  • water treatment devices that use less or no waste water

Have you ever wondered what the water footprint of the products we purchase is? High water use can also be less obvious. For example:

  • 1 pound of beef – 1,799 gallons
  • 1 pound of chicken – 468 gallons
  • 1 ounce of a chocolate bar – 200 gallons
  • 1 pound of potatoes – 119 gallons
  • 1 egg – 53 gallons
  • 1 apple – 18 gallons
  • 1 slice of bread – 11 gallons

Of course, we are not talking about days or weeks, but rather in a generation we could be back where we belong if we just practice good policies as far as the use of good water. Germany is exceptional in what they are doing – they are using a water quantity per person that is 50% or less of what we are doing here in the United States. They are prospering and I hope that we can take a lesson from them.

Water Conservation Tips

The average home in California uses 192 gallons of water a day, according to a 2008 study by the state Department of Water Resources and the Urban Water Conservation Council. A small lawn of 1,000 square feet takes about 35,000 gallons of water per year!

Water agencies around the Bay Area offer rebates to replace grass with more drought-tolerant plants such as native grasses and wildflowers, succulents and other plants. The East Bay Municipal Utility District pays 50 cents a square foot to people who replace lawns with native, drought-tolerant landscaping, and up to $2,500 a yard. The Santa Clara Valley Water District pays $1 per square foot.

“It’s pretty easy to save 20 percent. You want to remember that your plants – even with it being dry outside – are not needing as much water this time of year because it is cooler than in the summer,” said Chris Brown, former executive director of the California Urban Water Conservation Council, a nonprofit group in Sacramento. “The easiest way to save water is to save it outdoors.”

Among other tips that experts recommend:

  • take a 5-minute shower instead of a 10-minute shower: it saves you 12.5 gallons with a low-flow showerhead, and 25 gallons with a standard 5 gallon-per-minute shower head
  • turn the faucet off while brushing teeth or shaving: it saves you about 10 gallons a day
  • use a broom to clean driveways, sidewalks, and patios instead of a hose: this saves 8-18 gallons a minute
  • fix the worn washers in a faucet with a slow steady drip saves you 350 gallons per month, and 2,000 gallons a month if the leak is a small stream. If you could have the necessary skills to repair your faucet, you might consider buying it from reliable online stores such as Home Depot. That said, you could also look at this great site which could help you get some discounts on your purchases from the aforementioned site!
  • putting a new flapper in a leaking toilet can save 7,000 gallons a month (to test for leaks, put food coloring in the tank and do not flush; 10 minutes later if you see color in the bowl, you have a leak). If you have a leaky toilet you can get in touch with a plumber (see this page here) who can fix the leak, doing this can also help to prevent the leak in the future and save water.
  • installing a water-efficient clothes washer saves up to 16 gallons a load
  • a water-efficient dishwasher saves up to 8 gallons a load
  • soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while scraping them clean
  • replacing a pre-1990 toilet, which can use 5 gallons per flush, with a newer high-efficiency model can save 38 gallons a day per toilet.

Most Bay Area water agencies offer free water use inspections. An expert will come to your house check for leaks and offer tips on how to save water and lower your water bill. Call us at 760.734.5787 and get in touch with one of our water experts today!

However, if you are from Maryland (especially from Jessup) and are unable to avail our services, then you can search for T.E. Spall & Son plumbing services in Jessup online to find a reliable plumber who could do the job of plumbing and water inspection for you.


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