Did you know 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, but only 1% of that is available for humans to use?
The pace of our global society is moving too fast for water to fulfill its potential as a renewable resource. We have made fresh water into a finite resource. Water resources, like groundwater, are being depleted because they aren’t able to recharge at the same rate of our growing population and increased agricultural activity. Basically, we consume water at a highly unsustainable and concerning rate.
Droughts Aren’t Just Third-World Country Problems
There are a number of regions in the world that are poised for a "day zero" water crisis, when water reservoirs will eventually run dry. Cape Town, South Africa has been able to postpone this crisis due to extreme conservation efforts however there are other areas that are quickly running out of water including Iraq, India, Morocco, and Spain.
With that said, don’t think the US is exempt from water shortages. As of May 17, 2018, more than 45% of the US experienced abnormally dry or drought conditions and 28% experienced moderate to severe drought conditions according to the United States Drought Monitor.
Technology Is One Piece of the Water-Saving Puzzle
Water is a precious resource that humans have sometimes taken for granted, but with the rise of public water-saving initiatives, an increased focus on personal responsibility, and the progress being made with advanced technology, we're more poised than ever to fix that.
Here are a few examples of some water-saving technology that, if installed across the world, would have a big impact on making sure our water supply doesn’t become depleted.
1. Water-Saving Toilets
Let’s talk toilets. In the U.S. alone, around 4.8 billion gallons of water are literally flushed down the toilet each day.
However, with the increasing popularity of sustainable toilet manufacturers like Toto, toilets are being fashioned to use as little water as possible while also increasing performance and improving the overall bathroom experience. A Toto toilet, for example, uses a high-efficiency double cyclone flush system that only requires 1.28 gallons of water per flush. To put this in perspective, older toilets use anywhere from three to seven gallons of water per flush.
Dual-flush toilets have also hit the market in recent years. Dual-flush toilets offer two different water levels—less for liquid waste, more for solid waste—so you can avoid unnecessarily flushing five gallons of water every single time you go to the bathroom. Many easy-to-install toilet developments along these lines are already on the market, and you can expect to see many more fixtures like this in the near future.
2. Water-Saving Faucets
Do you leave the water running when you’re brushing your teeth or shaving? Don’t worry, a lot of people do. Unfortunately! But did you know that by replacing an old, inefficient faucet with a WaterSense labeled model could save 700 gallons of water per year, equal to the amount of water needed to take 40 showers. That’s a lot of showers and a lot of water.
If you don’t want to spring for a totally new faucet, you can retrofit existing faucets with a WaterSense aerator to slow the flow and conserve this precious resource. Most major faucet manufacturers offer both of these water-saving options, so you shouldn’t have trouble making the switch.
3. Low-Flow Showers
You can’t talk about water conservation and not immediately glare at the shower, cursing the amount of time it takes for water to warm up. Luckily, huge strides are being made to improve the sustainability of showers.
Low-flow systems are the answer, but a low-flow stream doesn’t sound like the most appealing shower experience. An efficient showerhead, according to WaterSense standards, would only use 2 gallons of water per minute, and so more and more companies are pursuing a showerhead model that doesn’t compromise quality for flow.
In the interim, there are energy efficient, hot water-saving showerhead attachments.
According to the EPA, "Replacing showerheads with WaterSense labeled models can reduce the average family's water and electricity costs by $70 and can save the average family more than 2,700 gallons of water per year, equal to the amount of water needed to wash 88 loads of laundry."
4. Water-Saving Sprinkler Bodies
Obviously landscaping is important for all types of businesses. An attractive lawn does wonders for your overall appeal, but it requires a lot of water to make sure flowers bloom and grass stays green.
If you have a sprinkler system, you might want to take a look at the sprinkler body. The sprinkler body is the part of your sprinkler system that houses the spray nozzle and connects to your irrigation system. Landscape irrigation sprinklers are often installed at sites where the system pressure is higher than what is recommended for the sprinkler nozzle. This can lead to excessive flow rates, misting, fogging, and uneven coverage.
WaterSense labeled sprinkler bodies will help generate the right amount of water being sprayed with a more uniform coverage.
5. Water/Moisture Sensors
When it comes to water consumption, every drop counts. Although we may not notice it, leaks are a major culprit of water waste. More than a trillion gallons of water are lost to leaks each year in the U.S.
With this in mind, some smart home and building systems include water/moisture sensors that alert you when it detects either of the two. Some sensors and systems immediately shut off your water system to prevent further damage and waste. Other appliances are hooked up to your main water supply line and constantly track the water flow to prevent the smallest of leaks before they become a problem.
Leaks might seem like they’re out of your control because they’re less obvious than a toilet flushing or a running shower, but there are affordable ways to prevent, track, and reduce leakage. Avoiding water damage is just an added bonus.
Making a Difference One Drop at a Time
Programs like the EPA’s WaterSense partnership program are working to promote water-saving technology and inform the public of the gravity of this particular environmental concern. If a product or system has a WaterSense label, you can be certain that it uses at least 20 percent less water than the original model in addition to being more energy efficient.
So far the WaterSense program has saved American consumers more than $46 billion on their water and energy bills and it was just announced in September, 2018 that it’s about to become part of federal law. According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, the program will be part of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, which has passed the House and is expected to be approved by the Senate before going to the White House for President Trump’s expected signature into law.
We think this kind of legislature and water-saving technology has the potential to change the world, and that’s what we're all about at Hydrofinity.
The need to conserve water is real! And, anybody who consumes it (meaning the entire human race) needs to think about ways they can do their part to make sure there’s plenty of it for generations to come. Making these simple changes is the first step in ensuring our precious H20 will continue to flow.