In southern California we hear about a water crisis every year around springtime, when the cold is being flung away and our bones are ready to defrost in the warmth of the sun. Each year we hear about the water crisis, but what does that mean? The average American household seems to think that water flows from the faucet in nearly endless quantities, but while most people don’t think that water is something we’re in danger of losing anytime soon, this graphic shows why water quantity and quality should be a top issue. The four major components of the issue covered here: consumption, conservation, quality, infrastructure, and their interconnectedness.
America has a huge appetite for water, with the average household going through 350 gallons a day. There is also the “hidden water” effect which deals with items we use every day. For instance, did you know that a pound of beef as it travels from farm to plate uses about 1,800 gallons of water? One of our main problems isn’t our large populations, but actually that we don’t conserve enough. By installing water-efficient fixtures a household’s daily water use can decrease by 35%, while replacing grass lawns with native plants can save 15,000 gallons a year.
We need to keep the quality of water high while trying to prevent chemicals and contaminants from seeping into our supplies. We also need to replace our pipes when they get old, before they break. 7 billion gallons are leaked from broken pipes every day. After all, the only thing people need in order to put themselves at risk of waterborne illness are some broken pipes and a heavy rain.
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