What does 70 gallons of water look like?

My 9 and half year old son’s immediate reaction, when i told him that he uses 70 gallons of water in a day, was “how much is 70 gallons?” I repeated “70 gallons!”. And he asked me again “How much is 70 gallons?” with an emphasis on “how much”. That’s when I realized that I couldn’t visualize what 70 gallons was either! I was merely repeating some numbers…

Finally after some digging on the internet, I figured out it is “2 bath tub full”… WOW! Imagine that!! Whether we realize or not, on average, we do use (or waste) 2 bath tub full of water every single day..

Image

 

Water as a raw material

During the last few weeks, I have been working on spreading water conservation awareness focused on individuals. While that’s a great start, the journey does not end there – nor should it! While we get better at our personal habits and do our bit, we should not ignore, nor overlook the real culprits. These culprits not only use more than their share of water, but are also the ones that make lot of available water unusable. If you haven’t guessed it yet, yes, it is our industries which use water as a raw material.

Take a look at the amount of water used (wasted, in my opinion) for each product.

1. It takes 5,680 liters (1,500 gallons) of water to process one barrel of beer. Have I lost my beer drinking supporters? :-)
2. It takes 450 liters (120 gallons) of water to produce one egg.
3. To process one chicken we need 44 liters (11.6 gallons) of water.
4. To process one can of fruit or vegetables we need 35 liters (9.3 gallons) of water.
5. About 25,700 liters (6,800 gallons) of water is required to grow a day’s food for a family of four.
6. It takes 7,000 liters (1,850 gallons) of water to refine one barrel of crude oil.
7. To manufacture new cars 148,000 liters (39,000 gallons) of water are used per car.

Next time, you use one of these products, just remember the amount of water spent!

Need for Water Conservation – East and West

Since last few weeks people have been asking me, “What’s the need to save water in a place like Seattle? It always rains here.” The truth is – given the rate at which population is increasing and the climate is changing, we will soon have a water shortage in the region. We need to conserve water not just for our future generations but also for a healthy ecosystem. Lower level of freshwater is endangering many species. The salmon you enjoyed for lunch needs near-shore waters and estuaries for survival. Low water level in streams coalesced with climate change is increasing the mortality of salmon. In Puget Sound region, we compete with wildlife, marine life and vegetation for water in late summer.

seattle-rain-1

(Photo credit: The Big Picture and Rotary Club Chandigarh)

It is difficult to understand the problem of water shortage when you see water all around as we do in Puget Sound area. Unfortunately, the rest of the world is not as lucky as we are. I am from India, a country were shortage of fresh water has always been a problem.  There most of the bathrooms don’t have a shower or a bathtub. People don’t know the meaning of “Jacuzzi”. Most of the folks can’t afford to use so much water daily. Rain is a major source of water for irrigation, drinking and household needs. But it rains only between June to August in India. As a result, rain water harvesting is becoming very popular in many villages. Recently, I read an intriguing article about the transformation of a village called Hiware Bazaar in India from barren to green. Deforestation, poverty and crime marked water scarcity in that village. Rain water harvesting revolutionized the village into prosperous community with green fields surrounded by a thick forest. The villagers dug wells in each house to collect rain water and planned their crops based on water availability.

By rain water harvesting in the Pacific Northwest, we can save a variety of fishes. As someone who has seen both extremes of water scarcity, I will urge everyone to save every drop of fresh water so that our future generations have a rich earth to live on.

To know more about water conservation in Puget Sound area, please visit Myth vs. Fact: Why Conserve?

Details of rain water harvesting program in Hiware Bazaar village can be found at Lessons From the Field—Rainwater Harvesting in India

Save Water by shortening shower by just two minutes.

English: shower head Deutsch: Duschkopf

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If your shower head is from 1992 or earlier it can be using up to 4 gallons a minute, if its more recent it probably using about 2.2 gallon per minute.

So if you shower every day and shorten your shower by just two minutes you will save up to 1,600 to 3,000 gallons per year. Over 20 years that would almost 32,000 to 60,000 gallons, enough water to fill a swimming pool.

If the population of King County shortened their showers by two minutes, over 20 years it would save enough water to fill Lake Washington!

It rains all of the time do I really need to conserve water?

Most of the water we use comes from streams and reservoirs in the Cascades, it comes out of rivers and lakes. This is the same water that fish and wildlife need as well. Water flows are the lowest during the summer and fall when water is depleted from heavy summer usage. Adequate river & stream flows are essential for the survival of many species, including threatened Chinook salmon.