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Reduce water waste at home and beyond

It might seem like the Earth has abundant water, but less than 1 percent is available for human use. The rest is either salt water, freshwater frozen in the polar ice caps, or too inaccessible for practical usage. 

While the population and demand for freshwater resources increase, supply will always remain constant. That makes water a natural resource that is increasingly under pressure. To address the worldwide growing need for water, we must reduce unnecessary water consumption and use water much more efficiently.

Today, homeowners are more concerned with preserving our natural resources and protecting the environment. However, many people still fail to realize just how much water their leaking faucets are wasting.

Does a little leak in my home really waste water?

The short answer is: yes.

The little leak that keeps on leaking wastes a lot of water. And because the leak is so little, you may ignore it. So, how can a little leak turn into a big waste? Many toilets have a constant leak—somewhere around 22 gallons (83 litres) per day. This translates into about 8,000 gallons (30,280 litres) per year of wasted water, water that could be saved. Or consider a leaky water line coming into your house. If it leaks 1 gallon (3.8 litres) of water every 10 minutes, that means that you are losing and paying for 144 gallons (545 litres) per day, or 52,560 gallons (199,000 litres) per year.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, water leaks can cause 10,000 gallons (37,800 litres) of water to be wasted in a single home during a year. At least 10 percent of all homes in the US have water leaks that waste up to 100 gallons (378 litres) every day. Only in one country, the US, household leaks can waste nearly 1 trillion gallons (3,7 trillion litres) of water annually.

Reducing water waste at homes

Sub-metering will assign the cost of water to tenants creating awareness of leaks and waste.

Always assume water appliances will malfunction. Moreover, a simple malfunction that continuously leaks will waste more water than the savings achieved by water-saving devices and should be a high priority.

There are several things we can do to mitigate water waste. Start with implementing water-saving devices such as low-flow toilets. These will reduce the amount of water used during proper operation.

Sub-metering will assign the cost of water to tenants creating awareness of leaks and waste.

Always assume water appliances will malfunction. Moreover, a simple malfunction that continuously leaks will waste more water than the savings achieved by water-saving devices and should be a high priority.

Finally, use advanced IoT technologies to identify waste, human mistakes and equipment malfunctions. These are the most significant sources of waste and are most often hidden, thus making them difficult to detect for humans. IoT solutions with built-in AI capabilities and leak sensors such as Eddy Solutions can detect anomalies and prevent them from becoming significant sources of waste.

Conserving water around the house is always a great idea. It not only benefits the environment but also lowers your monthly water bill. At the same time, let’s not forget that we also use water in ways we don’t see every day. Water is used to grow food, produce our favourite goods, and keep numerous industries running smoothly. We also use a significant amount of water to meet our energy needs.

Water Use in the US.

  • 8% domestic use
  • 33% agriculture
  • 59% industry

So, it’s only fitting that large corporations that consume water the most are mindful of how they use it.

Corporations pledge to become water positive

In recent months, multiple tech giants have pledged to use their reach and resources to join the fight for water conservation.

Google, Facebook, and several other companies have promised to put more water back into the environment than they pipe in—an exchange they call “water positive.” This means they plan to cut the water needed to run their facilities while preserving access to clean drinking water in drought-prone areas.

Many Western states in the US are experiencing water shortages this year. Recently, officials announced a water shortage for the massive Lake Mead reservoir after a 22-year-long drought in the region. Federal officials soon followed with unprecedented water cuts for about 40 million people who rely on the Colorado River, which feeds Lake Mead.

Water positive pledges aim to help companies align with UN sustainability goals while also securing their own water supply. It’s a question of reputation, too.

Facebook vowed to become “water positive” by 2030, a big pledge considering the company’s fleet of thirsty data centers. Becoming “water positive” for Facebook includes reducing and recycling the large volumes of water consumed by its data centers — 17 around the world.

For the corporate world, reducing water waste is perhaps the first and most critical step toward becoming water positive. Corporations must evolve their water management approach to improve water efficiency.

While the pledges to save more water pile in, some consider that accountability is vital.

Companies must disclose data about water withdrawals from their operations, as well as data to show progress toward meeting water targets including net positive water goals. That may include verification, assurance, and third-party review to give investors, customers, consumers, and the public confidence that the information a company is providing is being validated.

Simon Fischweicher, CDP North America Tweet
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