“Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink…”  Surely the world would not get to that point.  Or would it?One could take for granted that “running out” of water would never happen, since over 70% percent of Earth’s surface is water. However, only 3% of that is actually fresh water; the rest of salt water, which is not a viable option for purification—yet.Now more than ever due to the concern of global warming and droughts, water conservation has become a crucial issue, but there are solutions especially if everyone does his or her part.

Water Conservation—It’s Everyone’s Duty!

Such solutions benefit everyone and can be implemented almost anywhere.  One example is the process of waste water treatment.  There are some differences in specific details and mechanisms, the following is a general overview of what is involved:

  • Pretreatment: This is the stage where all of “big” stuff is removed, like garbage, plastic, etc. by a set of bar screens. In some waste water treatment plants, any oils are skimmed off and removed in this phase, and in others, this part occurs during Primary Treatment.
  • Primary Treatment: Smaller particles and other solids are removed by mechanical scrapers. The water also into large basins and tanks.
  • Secondary Treatment: In this phase, any organic matter is broken down into sludge by microorganisms as the water is the water moves on to a secondary clarifier tank.  The sludge itself can actually be reused as fertilizer once it goes through treatment.
  • Sludge Treatment: Any other solids are removed and taken to a landfill.  Sludge is treated for recycling.  The last of the water is treated with chlorine or ultraviolet light according to EPA standards to be returned to the water supply.

Although, this water may not necessarily go back into the “drinking” supply for human consumption, it is pure enough to be used for irrigation and other purposes.  Still, this process saves thousands, if not millions of gallons of water every year, not to mention how recycling and reusing sludge can benefit the agricultural industry.

Another method of conserving water is simply cutting back on use, and here are a few ways that you can help:

  • Designate only one to two days a week for laundry.
  • Refrain from running the water while brushing your teeth.
  • Take showers instead of baths.
  • In regard to showers, try to cut the time down to ten minutes or less.
  • Keep a large water container with you instead of having to turn on the faucet every few minutes.
  • Water your yard or garden at dusk or in the early morning hours to avoid evaporation during the warmest part of the day.
  • Try xeriscaping either your back or front yard. Both would be best.
  • Take your car to a car wash. The limited time saves water while still thoroughly cleaning your car.

Imagine the difference if each person saved 21,000 gallons per year by incorporating low-flow practices! Another important matter to consider is that you would be saving money on a daily basis, thus lowering utility bills.  Better yet, you would be making a positive, long term impact on the environment and the future condition of this planet.

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