Fresh Water Conservation Trends and Tips to Save Water

Freshwater Conservation

Water, water, and more water. Why are we so concerned about the water all the time? We have so much water in the ocean, rivers, ponds, lakes, streams and underground. Why it is this fuss about water? Let us do some background research of environment and its variables (flora and fauna).


Water is made from two molecules of hydrogen and one molecule of oxygen.  Still, this easy definition is not as simple as it looks.  Water is divided into different other types.  It can be salty or spring water.  Fresh water as we say is obtained from rains. It has dissolved salts in it, but less than 0.5 parts per thousand.  Fresh water may be found in lakes, rivers, and bodies of groundwater.

Types of water

Based on the salinity of water it can be divided into four types:

1.      Freshwater – with less then 0.5% of dissolved salts in parts per thousand

2.      Brackish water – with salts in the range of 0.5 to 30%

3.      Saline water (Ocean water) – with approximately 30-50% of dissolved salts

4.      Brine – containing more then 50% of dissolved salts.

Ocean or sea water cannot be used directly for consumption as they are more salty. The consumption of such water would lead to dehydration resulting into death. Fresh waters can only be used for drinking purpose. It is found in lakes, rivers, streams, underground, and glaciers. Rain is considered to be the main source of fresh water.

Facts about Fresh water

The importance of water in the life of human has been described and quoted by philosophers, scientist and great personalities. The director general of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura quoted in his words, “Water is probably the only natural resource to touch all aspects of human civilization - from agricultural and industrial development to the cultural and religious values embedded in society." [1]

We ourselves can learn and know the importance of water. When we collected the facts together and placed them in this report they proved to be amazing. [1, 2, 3]

1.                  The fact that earth looked blue when Neil Armstrong saw it from the moon is because two third of the earth surface is covered by water.

2.                  Major part – 97.5% of this water is salty, which cannot be used

3.                  So freshwater accounts only for remaining 2.5- 3%

4.                  Ironically out of this 2.5 % of fresh water, 75% of it is frozen in the ice caps and glaciers.

5.                  Freshwater that is available to us is only 25% of the total freshwater on earth.

6.                  Detailing deeply into the importance we find that an adult human body is made up of 60% - 75% water

7.                  82% of blood is water; 70% of the brain and 90% of the lungs are made up of water

8.                  A normal human uses about 2 lit. of drinking water in the summer

Uses of Freshwater

The usage of water depends on the industry and the purpose. Water can be used in different ways like it can be used again, or in a way that it cannot be used again. Based on this classification we can name it as consumptive usage and non-consumptive usage. Consumptive usage can be defined as water that is used once and it can be used again only after a process. When we use water for agricultural purpose, the water is usually sprayed and then absorbed in the earth and is not available till it meets the proper channel of ground water. In such case the water may also evaporate and remain unavailable till it rains. Non-consumptive usage includes the recycled water, as it is available quickly.

We can classify the use of water in major fields like:

1.                  Agriculture

Agriculture accounts for 75% of total world freshwater consumption. [4] As humans, plants also need water which they obtain from rain water, humidity from air, water sprayed from sprinklers or ground. Photosynthesis, the process by which plants prepare food for themselves, requires water. Plants require water to transport nutrients and vitamins to different leaves, stem and roots. Agriculture not only includes growing plants, it also includes Horticulture, Aquaculture, Vermiculture and many others. Proper irrigation techniques like drip irrigation or using urban waster water should to be employed to obtain maximum utilization of the water used. [5]


2.                  Household

Water is the only thing we do not forget to use everyday in our homes. We use water for cleaning, showers, toilets, car wash, drinking, cooking, and many other things. It is estimated that the common household usage of water in the USA is about 50 gallons per day.

3.                  Industrial

Consumption of water depends on the type of industry. The food, dairy, leather, and hotel industries require very huge volumes of freshwater daily. Besides the use of water in production they use it for cleaning or sewage disposal. The current level of economic development and globalization in industrial fields has increased the use of water.

4.                  Reservoirs

Government and other agencies usually store water in reservoirs by constructing dams, channels, or small artificial lakes. These reservoirs act as a principle source of water. Some private entertainment industries also have reservoirs of their own to use water for recreational purposes.

Freshwater Crisis

Freshwater is a susceptible source for survival, development, and environment. We see the extensive use of freshwater in our day to day life. The rate of this usage is becoming problematic and creating a crisis worldwide. Agencies have determined the annual usage of water between 12.5 and 14 billion cubic meters of water left for human use, which would be half till 2025 and one fifth in 2050 [5] . An estimated one sixth part of total human population on earth does not has access to drinking water and about one third lack proper sanitation [6,7]. There has been lots of mismanagement in the usage of freshwater. Low level of water in ground is resulting into crisis that are evident in the world in the form of changes in climate, Tsunami’s, Earthquake and many others. Commercialization of freshwater had lead to depletion in ground waters. Governments of different nations and even the United Nations is concerned about it and proclaimed 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater. [1]

Water Conservation

      Water conservation is not an option.  It is something that must be done in order to ensure that we have enough fresh water today as well as for the future.  Fresh water is a necessity to all life forms and without it we can not grow food, raise livestock or even bathe. 

    Water pollution, climate change, population growth and overuse of water are all currently depleting our fresh water supply and it will get much worse if we don’t put a plan into action.  As of 2004 there are still 1.1 billion people who do not have access to drinking water (Water for Life, 4).  Of the 83% of the global population that has access to drinking water only 54% of them can actually access water directly from their home via pipes or other connections.  Some regions of the world are in dire need of water.  In Sub-Saharan Africa only 56% of the population has access to water and only 16% of them have direct access.  Oceania is also lacking much of this precious resource.  Their access is limited to only 50% of the population and of that 50% only 21/% has house connections (Meeting the MDG Drinking Water and Sanitation Target, 39). 

    Water pollution from poor sanitation, agricultural run off and industrial waste are contaminating our main sources of fresh water including rivers and lakes.  A lack of clean water can have devastating effects on a large portion of the world.  Over a million people die each year from the lack of clean water. Many of them die from water borne diseases such as Diarrhoeal, Schistosomiasis and Legionellosis.  Diarrhoeal mainly affects young children and is one of the main causes of death for children younger than 5 years old.  In fact, “Everyday, diarrhoeal diseases from easily preventable causes claim the lives of approximately 5,000 young children throughout the world.” (Water for Life, 2).  Legionellosis is also a water borne disease but it usually only affects the older population.   Not only does the lack of clean water cause deadly diseases but it also affects the lives of women and children in other ways to.  In the families who do not have home water access, most of the women spend their days walking many miles to get water.  The children often miss school when they are sick from contaminated water and some of them have to help with the burden of carrying the water.  The water that they carry back is often not sufficient and could be contaminated.  (Water for Life, 12 – 20).

     We need to conserve water for future generations and also to be prepared for climate changes which will decrease our fresh water supply.  As more people inhabit the earth more water will be needed to sustain life.  Global warming presents new challenges to our decreasing water supply and more action will be needed to prevent further depletion of our resource.   The melting glaciers are the biggest threat to our natural resource, water.  In fact, “Over the next 50 years glacial melt could emerge as one of the gravest threats to human progress and food security”. (Watkins, et al. 165).  Glaciers basically act as a water supplier manager for Mother Nature.  They manage our water supply by collecting snow and ice in the colder months and then allow some of to the water to flow slowly in the warmer months to where it can provide nourishment to farm land.   Global warming is interfering with this process by melting the glaciers at a rapid pace which in turn speeds up the flow of water.  A lot more water is being released at a faster pace which will eventually deplete our water supply. (Watkins, et al. 165)  

          Water is not only a resource that we consume and use but it is also symbolic and sacred in many religions.  For example, Christians are baptized with water.  Baptism is how the Christian religion welcomes one into their religion.  Water is very sacred and “In the New Testament, ‘living water’ or water of life’ represents the spirit of God, that is, eternal life” (IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, 2005, 442). 

 ( In Hinduism, “Water is imbued with powers of spiritual purification for Hindus, for whom morning cleansing with water is an everyday obligation” (IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, 2005, 442). 

     There are many International and Local organizations that are currently dedicated to water conservation.  UN Water is the United Nations agency that has been designated to support and monitor MDG (Millennium Development Goals) and other issues that were established at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.  The World Summit on Sustainable Development set a target for many of these goals which is to  “Halve, by 2015, The proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.”(Water for Life, 4).  UN Water consists of 24 United Nations Organizations and partners.  Among these Organizations are the World Health Organization and UNICEF which is the “Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation.” (UN-Water).  They publish statistics on the water supply and sanitation and they also report on global problems with fresh water and sanitation.

          UN Water is also in charge of World Water Day which is held each year on March 22nd  to discuss the critical issues with fresh water.  The United Nations council declared March 22nd as “World Water Day” at the United Nations Conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and it was officially started on March 22, 1993.  (IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, 135).  

      The World Health Organization is currently promoting Household water treatment and safe storage (HWTS) via its new Network.  HWTS can improve the quality of polluted water thereby making it safe to consume.   Not only can these water treatments and safe storage help to save lives it can also help people financially.  For example, some of Kenya’s local women’s groups have successfully produced and sold special clay pots with special openings for storage.  They are affordable and they help to keep the water from contamination.  Africa has also been able to help improve fresh water while making a profit by selling household water disinfectants.   Good Hygiene is just as important as disinfecting the water to reduce diseases such as diarrhoeal.  In Botswana a new bathroom was built for a school but it did not provide any soap so the parents and teachers got together to raise money to buy soap.  The teacher incorporated her class lessons with importance on hand washing and hygiene.  (Water for Life, 28-30)

     Some Countries have also taken their own initiatives to tackle water conservation problems.  India has installed 10,0000 check dams to help capture water from monsoons thereby helping to increase the amount of ground water.  Other countries as well as India have also turned to low cost technology solutions to help combat water scarcity. They are irrigation systems or Micro-level irrigation systems that control the amount of water and  time of when a crop should receive water.  India refers to these micro irrigation kits as Pepsee kits.   (Watkins, et al., 195 -197)

     The United States is also actively pursuing innovative ways to conserve water.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for monitoring and regulating the quality of the water in the United States.  Some of the goals that the U.S. EPA is working on for 2004-2007 include increasing drinking water standards, reducing water pollution so it is safe for fish consumption and for swimming and to  increase the Wetlands.   The agency also has created a partnership program called WaterSense that will help consumers to conserve water, reduce water pollution and will also help them to save energy.  WaterSense will accomplish this by working with manufacturers and retailers to identify and promote  products that are water efficient.  The U.S. EPA is also part of trans-boundary water programs to help assist countries with problems sharing waterways and other shared water resources.  (

     Although managing global water resources is a major challenge we can achieve some of these water conservation goals with the help of many of these national and International organizations.  My own contributions to water conservation are some simple household tips which include: taking shorter showers by not letting the water run when shaving my legs, running the dishwasher only when it is full and by using less soap when hand washing delicates so I don’t have to waste water by filling up the sink several times to rinse them.  This is a small contribution but it is a start and if everyone could make their own small contribution we will be able to ensure that we have an adequate supply of fresh water for the future.

“How much water do I use and waste every day?”

The goal of this section of the project is to have everyone seriously asking themselves this question. The necessity of freshwater will be contrasted with the waste and pollution that is happening every day. We will see how much water can be wasted by simple day to day activities and what we can do individually to prevent this waste. Finally, we will take a look at freshwater shortage and its effects on the population.

Only three percent of the earth’s water is classified as freshwater. Less than one percent of that three percent is what makes up the earth’s usable freshwater in lakes, rivers, and wetlands. Freshwater is essential to life on this Earth. These facts help to show just how necessary freshwater is to the environment. Every ecosystem, animal, race, and person, regardless of religion or creed needs freshwater. According to The Nature Conservancy, “Water is the life-blood of freshwater ecosystems. When human activities alter the patterns of water flow through these natural systems, their health suffers and their ability to support us weakens.” This is such a powerful statement. There is not time on the clock or amount of paper and pen to describe each component of why freshwater absolutely necessary to our existence. For that reason, the focus of this section will be on freshwater waste and pollution.

You walk into your bathroom and turn on the sink to brush your teeth before bed. All of the sudden your cell phone rings so you step away and answer the call. It’s your best friend that you haven’t talked to in a while so you talk for twenty minutes before you realize the sink is still running. You stroll back to the bathroom and turn the knob off. No big deal right? Wrong! There are parts of the world where people would (and literally do) kill for that water. Complacency often drives our lack of concern for wasting water. Hopefully this next example will open up your eyes to the big picture.

Our group wanted to show just how important conserving water is to our local ecosystem. The best way to do this is to show the huge amount of water that is wasted by laziness and indifference to the water waste epidemic. We looked at eight select bay area cities ranging from large to small: Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Clearwater, Oldsmar, Largo, Dunedin, and Bradenton. There populations, according to, are listed below.

Tampa Population -- 325,989

St. Petersburg population -- 249,079

Sarasota population -- 53,711

Clearwater population -- 108,687

Oldsmar Population -- 13,552

Largo Population – 74,473

Dunedin -- 36,690

Bradenton -- 53,917

Total – 916,098

(This is only the population within the city limits and the actual Tampa Bay Metropolitan area contains many more people.)

I started the test by determining the very minimal amount of water that I waste during the day. I measured the water that was wasted by letting the sink run while I brush my teeth, letting the water run in an unoccupied shower, and letting the kitchen sink run a little between washing dishes etc. Now remember, I wanted a conservative estimate of how much water is wasted in a day. The total amount measured out for the day was 1.5 gallons. This does not seem like much right? These numbers really shocked me.













So if all that is wasted per person per day is a conservative 1.5 gallons, this translates into a yearly waste of 461,713,392 gallons! This figure does not include corporate, government, or industrial waste and the number is still outrageous. There is currently a project going on at Lake Tarpon to recover fresh water at the rate of 1 million gallons a day. We are wasting so much more water than we are recovering and than the Earth is naturally producing and recycling.

The bottom line of water waste is that you can make a difference! By conserving water in your own house you can dramatically decrease the water waste in the world. On your own, conserving those 1.5 gallons a day translates into conserving almost 550 gallons of water a year. If that doesn’t seem like much, just ask twenty of your friends and family to join you and you will conserve almost 11,000 gallons of water this year!

Finally we will discuss freshwater pollution. Freshwater faces the most dangerous threats from the activities of humans. Pollution can be caused by chemical, wastage, fertilizers, pesticides, metals, plastics, bacteria, and microorganisms growing in them. These pollutants may end up directly polluting the freshwater as sewage flowing into rivers, or by getting drained in the earth and polluting the ground water.

We have classified three major pollutants here:

1.         Domestic sewage

The sewage or waste in the house from day to day activities which involve water, is referred to as sanitary sewage. Such sanitary sewage is composed of many impurities, bacterial organisms, chemicals etc.  Lakes and rivers are the major places where such sanitary sewage ends up, polluting them.

2.         Agricultural Run off

We produce a large amount of agricultural products. This is all possible due to those fertilizers and pesticides we use on them. We need to assess the effect of these fertilizers, which are just pure chemicals. These chemicals, when sprayed on the crops, slip into the groundwater. The biological term for this is leaching. Such pesticides and fertilizers are used all over the world, because everyone wants to produce the maximum yield in the minimum period. These chemicals have been identified as pollutants, and have been banned in a few countries. Due to their high phosphate and nitrate content they dissolve in the normal fresh ground water and make it into non drinking water. Imagine the places like India, Africa, Pakistan and Nepal, who are more dependent on ground waters and rain waters. The chemicals used on the plants mostly end up in the small rivers or groundwater supply.

3.         Industrial effluents

Industries play a considerable role in pollution. The range of pollutants released from an industry varies from hundreds to thousands. Industries are found to be major cause of pollution in air, water and land. Freshwater helps as a carrier of waste from the industrial plant to the rivers, lakes, or oceans.

Here is a list of a few common industrial pollutants:

o                    Lead – A heavy metal, non biodegradable in nature. Intake could lead to inhibition of bodily enzymes or death.

o                    Mercury – Used in places in industries, non biodegradable, heavy metal, leads to death if eaten, slow amounts of it can cause a slow death.

o                    Sulphur – Yellow chemical, kills marine animals when dissolved in the water.

o                    Oils – Oil is heavier then water so it floats on water and does not dissolves. Oil spillage causes death of water animals, plants, and disturbs any natural ecosystem cycle where it is present. Marine animals cannot breathe as it forms a layer on their body. Similarly, plants cannot perform photosynthesis (cooking food) and die.

 We can produce a never ending list on such industrial pollutants, which would also include sugar mils, distilleries, leather processing industries, food industries, thermal power stations, and the most concerning are the biotechnology industries today. Industries involved in biotechnological work have to take special care as any toxic they spill in the rivers can be harmful and may have a larger effect on the environment. Developing countries emphasize on having pollution boards, which implement and regulate the industrial waster treatment plants, but small businesses cannot afford such facilities.

Wasting water is a problem much great and deeper than most of us realize and directly correlates with the shortage of freshwater the world is currently facing. This problem is most concentrated in Africa and Asia, but it definitely has an effect on everyone. Water scarcity directly also severely threatens our natural resources and habitats. The International Food Policy Research Institute warns, “With the loss of their ecosystems, more than 3,500 species are threatened worldwide, of which 25 percent are fish and amphibians. In 1999, 20 million hectares of forest were lost.” This problem stretches to the human race as well. The IFPRI goes on to say, “Overuse and misuse of water harm the human population as well. When too much water is abstracted from rivers, one effect can be that seawater comes inland and makes arable land infertile.” This is just one consequence out of many possibilities that can adversely affect our world if we do not change our ways.

People at home and all around the world are suffering from water scarcity. Everything from crops to medical supplies suffers when freshwater is scarce. According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), “About one-third of the world's population lives in countries with moderate to high water stress…If present consumption patterns continue, two out of every three persons on Earth will live in water-stressed conditions by the year 2025.” This is a scary thought, but don’t have nightmares. You can make a huge difference. You can influence so many around you, and by doing so, you can spread the word about freshwater conservation.


In the past century water policies relied on the construction of massive dams and pipelines. While investment in these facilities can increase the freshwater supply and provide water for billions of people the construction of dams have serious social, economical, and ecological costs. Some implications of the use of dams are modification of the water quality, increased waterborne parasitic diseases, and reduction of fish yields downstream. Another issue is that people need to be replaced, to build new dams. Also dams are built where animals used to live and trees used to thrive. Dams could fail which may result in flooding and destruction of property and people. “More than half of the world's large rivers are fragmented and regulated by dams, including all the largest and the most biologically diverse rivers,” according to new research from the University of Umea in Sweden and the Nature Conservancy in the United States. Many water problems occur with the development of dams, and present approaches may not be sufficient in the future.

One alternative to dams could be the introduction of more desalination technologies. Desalination is the process of removing of excess salt and other minerals and substances from water in order to obtain fresh water suitable for human consumption and irrigation. There are various methods of desalination; however, the ones that produce the most amount of water require significant consumption of energy that may not be available in the future. This may explain why the world's largest desalination plants are in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait where there are abundant energy resources. Those countries use multi-stage flash distillation which is a desalination process that distills seawater by flashing a portion of the water into steam in multiple stages. “The world's largest desalination plant is the Shoaiba Desalination Plant in Saudi Arabia which uses multi-stage flash distillation, and is capable of producing 150 million cubic meters of water per year” (Wikipedia).

An alternative to the multi-stage flash distillation could be the Solar Humidification-Dehumidification-Method which evaporates sea or brackish water and uses consecutive condensation of the generated humid air. The method resembles a natural water cycle with much shorter timeframe. The simplest way to apply that method is using a solar still which, by the heat of the sun, evaporates impure water in a container. The pure water vapor condenses on top of an upside-down-cone-like sheet and drips down to the middle in a clean container. While the water collected through solar stills would probably not be enough for household needs it could add more to our reserves of fresh water and reduce our consumption of water.

Another way to save our fresh water is the utilization of rainwater harvesting. Water harvesting is the process of collecting rainwater that falls on our property and storing it in water tanks for future use. We can use rainwater to irrigate flowers, trees, lawns and other landscaping. Also rainwater could be used by people that like to wash their cars in their yards. People can substantially lower their water bills, and at the same time help reduce local flooding by introducing rainwater harvesting in their homes. In urban areas harvested rainwater can provide supplemental water and be used for flushing toilets and washing laundry. It can also be used for showering or bathing. However, it may require treatment before using it for drinking. Various methods may be used for retaining rainwater for future use. One common method sends the initial water flow to waste. The first few gallons are thrown away to ensure that the dust and other deposits on the collecting surface as well as any initial airborne pollutants from the sky do not end up in the water tank. According to Freerain, “a typical household can expect to save around 50% of their main water needs” by using rainwater harvesting system. While, the system requires an initial investment, it will save you money in the long run.

There are many ways that we can cut the use of water at our homes. Never wash your car. Do not shave. Do not wash your clothes. Do not shower. If you see somebody else wasting water, defend your positions even if you need to get into a fight. Is that really what we are asking from you? No. We are not asking for a radical change in your life. We cannot completely cut our consumption of water. We are asking that you make some small changes in your water usage and educate friends and family on how to save water. Those small steps would let us enjoy good quality freshwater in the future.

Below you would see tips on how we can make a difference. Some of the following are tips for bathroom use. Install a low-flow showerhead that limits the flow from the shower to less than three gallons per minute.  Take short showers and turn the water off while washing and back on again only to rinse. Refrain from taking a bath.  When remodeling a bathroom or building a house, install new 1.5 gallon toilet tanks. Also, stones or other items can be placed in bigger toilet tanks to replace excessive water that is used for each flush. Test toilets for leaks by adding a few drops of food coloring to the water in the tank and watch to see if the coloring appears in the bowl within a few minutes. Refrain from using the toilet to dispose of cleansing tissues or other trash. This wastes water and places burden on the sewage treatment plant. When brushing teeth, we should turn the water off until it is time to rinse. If we don’t feel like turning the water on and off, we could keep a cup in the bathroom and feel it up with just the amount of water we need to rinse our mouth and our brush. Do not let the water run when washing hands. A cutoff valve may be installed at the end of the faucet or other devices that allow you to turn the water on and off with ease.

The valve above can easily be turned on and off with small sideways or up and down moves of the outside of our hands. This way once we get our hands in soap, we don’t have to reach back and grab the valves installed in most of our homes. When shaving, if you don’t feel like turning on and off the water all the time, fill the sink with some water and use it to rinse instead of letting the water run continuously. Grow beard on the weekends or when you are off work.

Some of the following are tips for outside water usage. Feel the soil or use a soil moisture meter to determine when to water. Do not over-water. Soil can hold only so much moisture, and the rest is waste of your time, money and water. Water your garden slowly for better absorption, and never water on windy days. Water lawns early in the morning during the hotter summer months or use drip irrigation systems. These will help avoid evaporation... Don’t water the streets, walkways or driveways. They don’t really grow anything. Use a broom. Do not over-fertilize or cut lawns too short. Otherwise your vegetation will be less tolerant to drought. Learn what types of vegetation thrive independently in your local environment and plant accordingly. Consider decorating some areas of the lawn with wood chips and gravel, or other materials that require no water. When washing the car, use a sponge and a bucket of water and turn on the hose only for rinsing or go to car wash places where high pressure water and recycled water is used. When changing oil of your car never pour the old oil will get into underground water, and one day you may be drinking poisoned water. 

How much water do we waste to wait for the warm water to come when we wash dishes and when we take a shower? Daniel shared that, in Bulgaria, people place their water heater in their bathrooms, so you get hot water immediately without waiting and in some homes people install additional small 2-gallon heaters above kitchen sinks that provide for the hot water needed in the kitchen. Thus, people save both water and energy.

 Some of the following are tips that could be used in the kitchen. Use a container of water for washing and rinsing pots, pans, dishes, vegetables and other cooking implements, rather than turning on the water faucet each time a rinse is needed. Don’t run the dishwasher without a full load. Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running water from the tap until it is cool. Always think of other ways to save water. Think for other small steps that you can take to save water such as saving from not making too much coffee or not poring too much water in your cup that you will not drink and throw away.

 Some of the following are tips for appliances and plumbing. Whenever possible, use the lowest water-level setting on the washing machine for light or partial loads. Check water requirements of various models and brands when considering purchasing any new appliances. Check all water-line connections and faucets for leaks. A slow drip can waste more than 150 gallons of water per day, or over 50,000 gallons per year. It will add to the water bill and hit your wallet. Check for leakages regularly. A good start is to turn off all indoor and outdoor faucets and appliances that use water, and if your water meter continues to run for the next 10 minutes, you have a leak.

Being cheap is not always the right choice. We often pay low price today to pay high price tomorrow. One question that we should probably ask ourselves is would we rather get the cheapest washer and drier today or should we pay a more for it today look three a few years from now when we would have saved the extra amount that we spent for the washer by cutting our total water usage with better efficiency. Below is a chart showing a comparison on water consumption based on modern and old appliances and faucets.

With avg. water costs of $0.002 per gallon and wastewater costs of $0.0024, a family of four could save 36,500 gallons or $160 per year. Would we spend a few more bucks for more efficient devices and enjoy the same standard that we have today or would we waste fresh water today and reduce its quantity and quality by getting something cheaper? If we are selfish and we don’t expect to live much longer, we would probably choose the second choice. Which one would you choose?

It seems that as the more our standard of living improves, the more we tend to waste. In Bulgaria the average monthly salary is $145 per month. When Daniel shares that fact with some of his friends in America, their first reaction is “how do people leave in Bulgaria on such a small salary”. The answer is that most Bulgarians use only what they need and they don’t have the same water and power bills that Americans do. They are not as wasteful as Americans.

Finally, we ask you that you educate others and share your knowledge, observations, experiences and ideas how to save water. We can make a difference by changing our behavior but we can also make a difference by sharing our knowledge and make other people aware of the future fresh water crisis. Today word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to make an impact. In the beginning of the 21st century, with all the technology that we have, Google became successful thanks to word-of-mouth. Although “we as humans have a hard time with this kind of progression”, the one that can be caused by an epidemic or word-of-mouth, “we need to prepare ourselves for the possibility that sometimes big changes follow from small events” (Gladwell 2002, p 10). Our goal is to make an impact in worldwide water usage and we hope that you will join us by making a small step.

 The more efficient use of our precious water resources through water conservation and reuse holds a real potential to preserve limited water supplies and to save real money. The largest saver is you, the consumer. Even a 10 percent reduction in personal water use can save billions of dollars over the next 50 years. In order for this to happen the effort to conserve water must begin now with each of us. Harvesting and conserving water is every individual’s duty. Every drop of fresh water is precious. Save it, because it might be the very drop that will quench your thirst one day.

Great savings can be achieved through careful water conservation. And even if you have all the money in the world and don’t care about saving money from your water usage, think about the future. One day, all the money that you have may not be possible to buy you good quality water. Imagine your water usage 50 years from now. Imagine what you would leave to your children. Water goes through a natural cycle process and what we do with the water will come back to us eventually. The more unwise and wasteful we are with water usage, the more impure it will come back to us. With current trends of usage, two out of three people are expected not to have access to sanitary water 50 years from now. You can be one of them. Some governments have used and continue to use the method of turning off the water for whole cities for hours or days to reduce water consumption. This may be your city one day. The future of fresh water is in your hands. Take small steps to preserve it. Let your family and friends know.


     I interviewed Janet Llewellyn, Deputy Director of Water Resource Management for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) agency.  I interview Janet over the phone and the following is a summary of our interview.

Question 1:  What is the main focus of the Water Resource Management?

Answer:  Janet explained that the Water Resource Management division of the FDEP is a regulatory agency who authorizes the use of water.  If a business such as a public utility or agriculture wants to withdraw water they need to have a cause for using the water and will need to have a permit.  They will also need to explain how they are using the water and how they will limit their use.

Question 2:  Are you working with any other agencies? (Non-governmental, Governmental or Private sector)?

Answer:  Janet explained the FDEP is working closely with USF and other organizations including “Agriculture, Florida Association of Counties, AWWA, DOT and the Florida Home Builders” on a Water Conservation clearing house. The clearing house is in its first phase and they have already been approved for funding next year.  The clearing house is more geared towards the Utility companies and it has been established for the state of Florida only.  The clearing house serves as a data bank where both the FDEP and USF collect data regarding best practices and assists the utilities with establishing a plan for their water use.  The Utility companies report back to the clearing house on the progress that they have made.

Question 3:  How will the growing population affect fresh water availability?

Answer:  Janet explained that we are “reaching water sustainability” and that they currently have alternatives in place.  Some of these alternatives include “Desalinization, Brackish ground water, Reclaimed water and Offline surface water reservoirs”. 

Question 4: How do you get the right people involved in water conservation?

Answer:  Janet explained that since they are a regulatory agency that uses laws and regulations to enforce water policies.

Question 5:  Why should businesses be concerned about fresh water conservation?

Answer:  Janet explained that businesses will not be able to operate without water and thus will not make a profit which will ultimately have an effect on the economy.

Question 6:  How can an ordinary person make a difference and what steps can we take to conserve water?

Answer:  Janet explained that since half of our water in Florida is used just for landscaping and that we could make a major impact just by following some of these simple guidelines:  Making sure that irrigation systems are efficient, Designing landscaping projects with plants that do not require a lot of water, Installing new technologies that are water efficient and Turning off the faucet in a timely manner.

After the interview I thanked Janet for her time and she mentioned the FDEP web site had additional information on water conservation.  She also mentioned another contact, Tom Swihart who is the Administrator for the Office of water Policy for the FDEP.  I went to the web site and after reading some additional information I had a few additional questions and spoke to Tom Swihart.  The following is a summary of my interview with Tom Swihart.

Question 1:  Is the Well water clearing house related to the Water conservation clearing house that Janet had mentioned to me?

Answer:    Tom explained that is was not related.

Question 2:  Will the Everglades project help ensure water for Florida’s population?

Answer:  Tom explained that it should help supply water for the growing population and that the Regional water plans have identified it as a sufficient supply of water.

Question 3:  What phase is the Everglades project in?

Answer:  He said the plan was authorized in 2002 and they have made tremendous progress.

Question 4:  What is reclaimed water and how is it being used?

Answer:  Tom explained that reclaimed water is water that is treated and disinfected.  He mentioned that reclaimed water is used for “Residential, Agricultural and in Industrial facilities”.

I concluded the interview and thanked Tom for his time.  




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  16. Challenge of the Decade.  Geveva, Switzerland: WHO press, 2006
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  28. UMEA, Sweden, April 15, 2005 (ENS) -
  31. Gladwell, Malcolm. 2002. The Tipping Point. p 10

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This project was initiated by four MBA students at University of Tampa: Anne Gross, Philip Bowen, Chintan Shah and Daniel Totev and their professor Wanda Chaves, PhD


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