Welcome to Planet Patrol, brought to you by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. This month, we're going to talk about water usage.
Conserving water is so important because water is a natural resource -- the water we use today is the same water the dinosaurs used. Less than 2% of the water on the planet is freshwater, and most of that is in glaciers and we can't use it. People can't survive without water, we can't waste or ruin our water resources. A recent study showed that at least 36 states are anticipating water shortages in the next 3 years.
About 340 billion gallons of water are used every day in the US -- this includes all the water you use at home, plus water for irrigation, for industry, in fire fighting and in street cleaning. Seventy percent (70%) of the water is used for agriculture or farming as more than 60 million acres of farm and ranch land is irrigated. Twenty two percent (22%) is used for industry or factories. It takes about 1 gallon of water to process a quarter pound of hamburger. It takes 39,000 gallons of water to manufacture a new car, including tires. It takes 1- gallons of water to refine 1 gallon of gasoline. That leaves only 8% for everything else.
The average American uses 100-176 gallons of water at home each day.
• Bath = 50 gallons
• Shower = 2 gallons per minute
• Brushing your teeth = 1 gallon
• Hand/face washing = 1 gallon
• Face/leg shaving = 1 gallon
• Dishwasher = 20 gallons per load
• Dishwashing by hand = 5 gallons per load
• Clothes washing in a machine = 10 gallons per load
• Toilet flush = 3 gallons
• Drinking water = 8 oz. (or more) per glass (1/16th of a gallon)
There are several different things we can do to reduce our water use. Some examples are by taking shorter showers or by only running the dishwasher or washing machine when you have a full load. Depending on your appliance you may use the same amount of water whether it's full or not, so make it worthwhile. If you wash dishes by hand, don't run the water constantly, have 1 sink for washing and 1 for rinsing. Fix leaky faucets and toilets quickly. One can waste over 25 gallons of water every day from even a small leak. Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running water every time you want a cold drink -- a pitcher keeps your water cold, and you get every drop instead of losing some down the drain. Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan or bowl of water instead of running water from the tap for each one -- use this when you're done to water houseplants.
We can all do our part to conserve water by using less water when we shower or brush our teeth and by doing full loads of dishes and laundry.