Water Conservation Is Essential to Life on Earth

Show Summary - July 19th, 2010


Sharon welcomed the listeners and talked about the importance of water in life and life in water. She said that it is imperative for everyone to realize the importance of water, to drink plenty of water and to carry water with them if they are unsure of a water source. Dehydration, or lack of water, is out of control in our world and causes or contributes to ailments from allergies to obesity.

Guest: Ron Duncan

Ron Duncan, M.S. (Santa Cruz, CA), water engineer and writer. "No organisms can live on Earth without water."

Ron Duncan became interested in water as a geology student. He concluded that water is the world's most important resource but despite its abundance, it is not being well cared for. No life form on Earth can survive without water. Because water fills the oceans and falls from the sky, we tend to take it for granted.

46% of the people in the world lack enough water for basic sanitation. By 2050, 50% of people will experience water shortages. Worldwide, underground aquifers, where much of the accessible fresh water is stored, are being pumped dry and/or depleted by drought.

Ron is an advocate of water conservation and offers several suggestions. Sharon agreed and talked about dryland farming, which uses far less water than conventional farming.

Ron noted that there is a projected increase in jobs in water management for three reasons: (1) The "baby boomer" work force is aging. (2) The new generation is smaller than the baby boomer generation. (3) The industry is growing rapidly.

Water is currently far too inexpensive to warrant major investments in things like dams and diversion canals. Lower prices lead to increased and more frivolous use. At present, only 5% of energy comes from hydropower. Nevertheless, a huge amount of water is used in the production of energy.

70% of home water use is indoors, 30% is outdoors. Ways to conserve:

  • 1.Install a modern, smaller toilet tank. "Dual flush" toilets use more water for solid waste and less for liquid waste.
  • 2. Install a high efficiency showerhead to use 1/3 less water.
  • 3. Install a faucet aerator, which reduces flow from 2.5 to one gallon per minute.
  • 4. Purchase a front-loading washing machine, which also uses less energy.

    Sharon noted that people tend to wash their clothes too often, especially bath towels. Ron talked about lawns and suggested native plants instead of grass, or lava rock or drip irrigation. He also talked about rooftop lawns in Japan that capture water, reduce runoff and cool and humidify the air. Regarding storm runoff, many runoff channels are currently heavily polluted and in some areas, it is now illegal to capture water in a rain barrel.

    Categories: Ecology and the environment; global warming and climate change; water and sanitation; 2010