As the world discovers how important it is to have clean water for people to drink, water conservation is becoming as important as water purification. Following the goals of water conservation, there are many different things for businesses as well as average consumers to do to contribute to the water conservation efforts, including water efficiency.
Goals of Water Conservation
Like all types of conservation, water conservation has a set of goals that are behind the entire concept. These goals identify the main purposes and what the water conservation hopes to accomplish in the long term. These goals include sustainability, energy conservation, and habitat conservation.
- Sustainability � Sustainability is an attempt to regulate the use of something renewable so that the amount taken of the resource does not exceed the amount of the resource regenerated. In the terms of water conservation, this means that to ensure future generations will have the fresh water they need, our generation does not extract more fresh water than can be replaced naturally in a reasonable amount of time.
- Energy Conservation � Energy conservation is much like water conservation in which the resource, energy, is attempting to be preserved through conscious effort. This is a goal of water conservation because many of the water purification processes use up a large amount of energy. Water pumping, wastewater treatment, and water delivery take up a significant amount of energy, which could be saved by having less water to deliver and less water that needs a lot of treatment.
- Habitat Conservation � Habitat conservation is another form of conservation involved in water conservation. By promoting cleaner water, and removing less water from natural habitats, animals and marine creatures that rely on that water are less likely to become part of a cycle that causes more death and pollution. Habitat conservation also works with energy conservation by not needing as many dams and other man-made water collection structures.
Water conservation and water efficiency are two different things with very similar goals. While both concepts focus on the use of less water, the key of water efficiency is to concentrate on making less wastewater. While that is just one facet of water conservation, there are several things to do that can help with water efficiency and water conservation by making less wastewater.
- Fixing leaking faucets and pipes
- Taking showers instead of baths
- Taking shorter showers
- Doing full loads of dishes or laundry
- Placing a Hippo (a waterproof circulation bag) or other conservation products in a toilet tank
There are several ways that a society can practice water conservation as a whole group. The goal of water conservation in a social setting is to help the efforts towards water conservation on a local level, usually run by regional governments or municipal water utilities. Some of the things that are encouraged with social solutions to water conservation are:
- Water Metering � The concept of water metering is actually a large part of water conservation. The goal of water metering is to reduce consumption by making people aware of how much water they are using and by raising the price of water utilities for particular households if the use increases.
- Landscaping � Cities in dry climates are now promoting or requiring natural landscaping or xeriscaping for the new homes being built within the city limits. These two types of landscaping require little to no regular irrigation as they rely on plants that thrive in hot, dry climates.
- Restrictions on Sprinklers � Restrictions on using lawn sprinklers are becoming more prevalent in cities in hot, dry areas. The restrictions are usually seasonal in nature and also promote the natural landscaping or xeriscaping ideas.
- Showerheads and Toilets � Some cities are offering subsidies for water-saving showerheads and toilets. This can encourage people to retrofit their current toilets and showerheads with appliances that save water and energy.
- Concentration on Farmers � Many local areas are concentrating on helping farmers with water conservation as crop irrigation takes up 70% of the world�s freshwater use. By helping farmers find less wasteful ways of irrigating, they are helping to reduce the amount of wastewater.
Technological Conservation Efforts
On the individual front for water conservation, there are several ways that a person can make a personal effort. There are many technological choices when looking at water conservation methods, and many of them can be time and energy saving for a homeowner. Some of these technical conservation efforts include:
- Low-Flow Showerheads � These showerheads are sometimes called energy saving showerheads because they allow less water to pass through. By allowing less water through, there is also less water to heat. Low-flow showerheads have also been improved so there is no loss in water pressure.
- Low-Flow Toilets � Much of the wastewater in the home is from Western style toilets. Low-flow toilets, composting toilets, and waterless urinals use much less water and can have a dramatic impact on how much water is consumed.
- Faucet Aerators � Faucet aerators are technological devices that break the flow of water down into smaller particles without reducing �wetting effectiveness.� This saves on water and actually reduces splashing from washing hands and rinsing off dishes.
- Wastewater Recycling � Wastewater recycling can mean the reuse of greywater in two ways. Untreated greywater can be used to water plants or flush toilets, while purified greywater can be pumped back into homes to be used as fresh, clean water. This would cut down enormously on the amount of water consumed.
- Simple Habit Changes � The easiest way to practice water conservation at home is to initiate some simple habit changes. This means turning off the water when brushing your teeth, or perhaps timing your showers to five minutes or less. This is not only water conservation, but energy conservation as well.
While there is no perfect answer yet for water conservation, there are several things that people as a society and individuals can do on their own to help. From simple habit changes to purchasing items that help in the conservation process, people can dedicate themselves to the three goals of water conservation, and make sure that there is fresh, clean water for generations to come.