Water is one of the foundational building blocks of life, and without adequate water supplies, plants, animals and humans will cease to exist. While rain collection has been a method of gathering water for thousands of years, various civilizations have come up with ways to channel water supplies to population centers.
A famous example of this can be found by examining Roman aqueducts which channeled freshwater to public fountains and bathhouses.
These days, most tap water comes from either groundwater or surface water supplies that get treated and pumped to homes and businesses. Surface water comes from lakes and rivers, but some homes that are not connected to centralized water systems rely on private water wells that are supplied by groundwater.
Why Is Water Conservation Necessary?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United States has seen a doubling of its population in the last 50 years. Additionally, domestic water use has tripled in that time. Combine this increased demand for water with a lack of rain during certain years and the potential exists for water shortages.
An issue is the matter of water deficits. When the amount of water usage exceeds that amount of rainfall in a given time period, a deficit begins and can spread rapidly.
This is particularly concerning during the summer months when people tend to use more water for outdoor activities like washing vehicles and watering lawns. If the United States doesn’t take steps toward conserving water, resource scarcity becomes a major concern.
Lake Mead, a man-made reservoir that spans parts of Nevada and Arizona, is an example of a body of water that has been greatly affected by water deficits over the years. In 2022, the lake is once again experiencing record-low water levels due to a lack of precipitation around the nearby mountainous regions. Because Lake Mead supplies major U.S. cities like Las Vegas with water, a water deficit can result in serious consequences for nearly 25 million people.
Large And Small Ways To Save Water
Despite the dire consequences of water shortages in areas affected by droughts and rainfall deficits, there are a number of water conservation methods that can be enacted to reduce the fallout. Some water saving tips for homeowners include taking shorter showers, repairing leaky fixtures quickly and watering lawns in the morning or evening to reduce the speed of evaporation.
Although the above are some small ways in which water consumption can be reduced, corporations can also take part in conserving resources by taking larger measures. For example, making changes to systems or adjustments to industrial equipment can go a long way in resolving excessive water usage. Companies can install high-efficiency toilets in the workplace and high-pressure, low-volume water nozzles on sprayers and other washing equipment.
Large corporations can also consider appointing a water efficiency coordinator who will be tasked with analyzing water usage and drafting plans to reduce consumption based on the unique factors that make up the company.
The water efficiency coordinator may work with local government agencies to stay on top of the latest water developments regarding water scarcity in the area so that dynamic changes can be made as needed. Likewise, industrial applications that utilize water may be able to be adjusted to reuse water supplies.
For example, discharge from rinsing operations or boiler makeup may be able to be recycled and used again to avoid drawing from a local water supply.
Conserving Resources Going Forward
Because water is technically not a renewable resource despite the evaporation cycle, innovators are looking to technology for answers when it comes to preserving water resources. Smart irrigation systems powered by Internet of things (IoT) networks may be able to intelligently route water supplies to where they will be used most efficiently.
In addition, solutions like WaterOn, a smart home device that senses water leaks and sends out alerts, have captured the attention of business leaders and government agencies concerned with issues like climate change and water scarcity.
Service providers like Ignitia are also bringing innovation to the table through smart alerts regarding weather forecasts for small-scale farmers. These alerts can help farming professionals better manage their water usage with the knowledge of incoming rain conditions and droughts.