Water Efficiency on The River
Every Drop Counts
A person can live for 30 days without food, but only 3-4 days without water. Only 2.8% of the world’s water is fresh, and only .6% is available as groundwater and .01% available in lakes and streams. This makes fresh water one of the most precious elements on earth, yet one would hardly know by the way in which it is used. Consider the following:
· A typical impact sprinkler uses about 5 gallons a minute or 300 gallons an hour, 2400 gallons in an 8-hour period. If used during a hot day, up to half of this water is lost to evapotranspiration and never reaches the ground.
· A faucet that drips once each second wastes 259 gallons a month, or 3,153 gallons a year. Multiply that by the number of leaky faucets around your house, then around your garden, then around your community, and you’ve got more than a trickle.
· Agriculture in the west occurs largely in arid to semiarid regions and requires large water subsidies. It takes about 2500 gallons of water to produce 1 LB of beef, 1600 gallons of water to produce 1 LB of pork, 815 gallons to produce 1 LB of chicken.
· One quart of oil poured on the ground or in a waterway will contaminate 2500 gallons of water.
River communities bear an additional responsibility when it comes to water. The hottest, driest months of the year are a critical period when our local anadromous fish populations need clean, cold water. It’s also when we use the most water in our gardens & landscapes. As water flows diminish more and more fish seek cold-water refugia in deep pools where mountain streams and creeks spill into larger tributaries. Each drop of water that goes to our garden or household is one less for the fish.