reducing water consumption

“Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act” – Albert Einstein

how to reduce water consumption : fix leaks, install low-flow shower heads and toilets, shorten showers/baths, use water-efficient appliances, grow native species local to the area instead of a water-guzzling lawn, filter your tap water instead of drinking bottled water, buy things used / second hand (producing new fabric and dyes consumes a large amount of water), share resources, obtain groceries from farmer’s markets, eat as locally or in season as possible, eat organic (remove pesticides and unsustainable practices from the system), grow some of your own food, reduce your meat consumption, and use a composting toilet.

Just watched Last Call at the Oasis, a well-researched and visually appealing documentary highlighting the current and future issues concerning water. This film highlighted current water issues, such as diminishing groundwater supplies, depleted aquifers, polluted water,  hidden water costs, as well as solutions and the hope that discussions over water bring people together – as water does not heed boundaries of creed or country.

some hidden costs of water

average swimming pool 18,000 gallons of water = 4 lbs steak 18,000 gallons of water

hot tub 500 gal= t-shirt 700 gal

$1 dog food = 200 gal

bath tub 35 gal = glass of wine 38 gal

a light bulb uses 1.4 gal per hour

In an average home 14% of water usage is due to leaks and largest user of water is toilet with 27% of average household use

A standard toilet uses 6 gallons as opposed to a low-flow toilet uses 1.2 gallons

In total we use 6 billion gallons of water per day to flush away human waste

This film also looked at the contaminants which enter our sewage water including antibiotics, chemicals, pesticides, industrial contaminants, which apparently do not need to be filtered out during the sewage treatment process.

Currently 40 million Americans use well water, and domestic wells are not typically tested for chemicals

This exacerbated problems when Cheney pushed through the Haliburton Loophole which exempts fracking companies from the safe water drinking act, polluting many communities with extremely toxic materials such as hexavalent chromium and atrazine ( a herbicide – weed killer- and endocrine -hormone- disruptor in amphibians, an indicator species due to their thin skin and life in water)

In Europe chemical manufacturers are required to follow the precautionary principal – in which the producer of the chemical is charged with the task of proving that the substance is safe. This is ‘guilty until proven innocent’ the opposite of the legislation in America.

CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) spray manure (typically of cows) hich contain antibiotics and hormones growth treatments untreated and raw on fields.

1 cow  produces 150 pounds of manure every day which is equal to 23 humans

There is a myth that bottled water is more regularly tested then tap water, but in fact  40% water sold in US is tap water and it is  regulated as food product, with infrequent testing.

What has happened in the United States is that a public resource has been converted into a private good and commodity. The nation needs to regain public trust in water system and drink the solution of recycled water, or ignore the problem through consuming bottled water.

An interesting note that a professor of psychology brought up is that the more one see something as widely done, the more acceptable it becomes. In this way, we need to change the wasteful practices that we all engage in, but even more so to hold corporations and government regulatory agencies accountable.

The film ended on a hopeful note, emphasizing that water represents a shared future which unite people, for it flows across borders.

~ expression ~