Water, especially the availability of fresh drinking water, is becoming an increasingly important topic of discussion. Environmental degradation and industrial usage remove large amounts of fresh drinking water. Drought conditions, such as the one occurring in Somalia, threaten millions with starvation. In the United States, huge dust storms are occurring in Arizona, and there are increasing disagreements between states over who should be allowed to draw water from rivers, mostly in the American West. Many of us here on Long Island don’t really think about our water use – we just open the tap, turn on the sprinklers, and let it flow. We have a seemingly limitless water supply, and water is inexpensive here, so it’s not something people really think about.
The GRACE Foundation has developed a Water Footprint Calculator is a great way to get people to take more interest in their water consumption and that can encourage them to pay more attention to water availability and related issues. It is a quick and easy tool, which can be accessed from the Friends of the Bay website at http://friendsofthebay.org/?p=539.
GRACE’s Water Footprint Calculator (WFC), part of the H2Oconserve website (H2Oconserve.org), is a brief set of questions that will get you thinking about how much water you and your household use and how water connects to almost every aspect of your life. The WFC will help you explore how you use water, estimate your household’s water footprint and learn ways to conserve.
What is a Water Footprint?
Your household’s water footprint is the amount of water you use in and around your home throughout the day including the water you use directly (i.e., from a tap). It also includes the water used indirectly to produce the food you eat, the products you buy, the energy you consume and even the water you save when you recycle. You may not drink, feel or see this virtual water, but it makes up the majority of your water footprint.
Also included on the H2Oconserve website are over 75 water conservation tips to help you reduce your water footprint, ranging from installing a renewable energy system at your home to eating less meat. The recommendations on this list help you save water and money. There are also issues pages about water use in and around the home, in energy production and in the products we use and consume every day, as well as links to information and resources about water and water conservation.
Check out GRACE’s WFC and calculate your water footprint. You might be surprised to find out just how much water you consume in a day.
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