Water is essential to life. From quenching our thirst to producing food, manufacturing goods and enabling transportation, water is essential to every aspect of life. Public works companies place a dollar value on your usage, but is that the true value of water?
In America, more than 176 gallons of water are used per day to support a variety of activities such as food and drink production and cleaning. In fact, water is used to produce more than 50% of the food we eat and beverages we drink, making it essential to maintaining the quality and quantity of food available for consumption. In the home, more than 90% of the water used goes down the drain from activities such as showering, flushing a toilet and washing clothes. On top of that is the water lost through leaking pipes in and around your home.
While many think the world has a never-ending, abundant water supply, research shows that many areas of the world are already experiencing significant drought. In the U.S., California is one area that has been experiencing the most severe drought on record, with little relief in sight. However, the drought in California affects more than just those in the area since this state produces a significant amount of fruits and vegetables.
“The drought in California does have the potential to impact the price we pay for fresh fruit and fresh vegetables and dairy and fresh eggs we pay at the counter,” U.S. Department of Agriculture economist Annemarie Kuhns said in an article for CNN. “We are not sure what the exact impact will be.”
Protecting water sources can be simple and can start right in your community. Researchers at the Value of Water Coalition estimate that 1.7 trillion gallons of drinking water are lost every year to faulty, aging or leaky pipes. When you add in leakage from sewer and stormwater pipes, that rises to 6 trillion gallons! With more than 300,000 water main breaks occurring every year, the time is now to take action and become a proactive community.
“This historic drought demands unprecedented action,” California Governor Jerry Brown said in an April 2015 article, while standing on a dry area normally covered by heavy snow.
In many areas, city leaders are realizing the importance of improvements to infrastructure, which generate $6 in a return on investment for every $1 spent. In addition, to assist homeowners, communities are partnering with programs that support water conservation and reduce ground pollution, like the Service Line Warranties of America Program. Offered at no cost to the city, this program provides homeowners with a low-cost solution to protect themselves from the potentially high cost of repairing or replacing broken or leaking water and sewer lines on their property. Even just preventing leaks and breaks from becoming major problems can have a direct impact on your community – especially for areas prone to drought.
Protecting our precious water supply requires a concerted effort on all fronts. Public infrastructure investment at the local and national levels are critical, but a commitment by every citizen to water conservation is also required. The time is now to place a real value on water – life’s most precious resource.