Over 70% of the earth's surface is covered in water. But of that water, just 1% is readily available for human use, and of that 1%, 99% of it is stored beneath our feet as groundwater. We all rely on groundwater in some way, so it's important that we understand this vital resource.
Water is always on the move. From the time the earth was formed, it has been endlessly circulating through the hydrologic cycle.
The Hydrologic Cycle
Surface water evaporates from by energy of the sun. The water vapor then forms clouds in the sky. Depending on the temperature and weather conditions, the water vapor condenses and falls to the earth as different types of precipitation (rain, snow, sleet, hail). Some precipitation moves from high areas to low areas on the earth's surface and into surface water bodies. This is known as surface runoff. Other precipitation seeps into the ground and is stored as groundwater.
We rely on groundwater - it's the water we drink, the water that grows our food, the water that helps recharge our lakes and rivers. While some groundwater contaminants are naturally occurring, unfortunately, most of the groundwater contamination is the result of human activity.
The U.S. Geological Survey compares the water stored in the ground to money kept in a bank account. If the money is withdrawn at a faster rate than new money is deposited, there will eventually be account-supply problems.
Two-thirds of the world’s population is projected to face water scarcity by 2025, according to the United Nations, water withdrawals are predicted to increase by 50 percent in developing countries and 18 percent in developed countries. Half the world’s people will live in countries with high water stress.
Currently, 780 million people lack access to an improved water source. 85% of the world population lives in the driest half of the planet.
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68.7% of the fresh water on Earth is trapped in glaciers. Over 90% of the world’s supply of fresh water is in Antarctica.
Approximately 400 billion gallons of water are used in the United States per day.
The United States draws more than 40 billion gallons (151 million liters) of water from the Great Lakes every day—half of which is used for electrical power production.
Americans drink more than one billion glasses of tap water per day.
In One year, the average American residence uses over 100,000 gallons (indoors and outside).
Americans use 5.7 billion gallons per day from toilet flushes.
1/3 what the world spends on bottled water in one year could pay for projects providing water to everyone in need.
Refilling a half-liter water bottle 1,740 times with tap water is the equivalent cost of a 99-cent water bottle at a convenience store.
There are no scientific studies that support the recommendation to drink 8 glasses of water per day.
Drinking too much water can be fatal (known as water intoxication).
The average family of four uses 180 gallons of water per day outdoors. It is estimated that over 50% is wasted from evaporation, wind, or overwatering.
A water-efficient dishwasher uses as little as 4 gallons per cycle but hand washing dishes uses 20 gallons of water.
It takes more than twice the amount of water to produce coffee than it does tea.
It takes about 70 gallons of water to fill a bathtub.
The average pool takes 22,000 gallons of water to fill. A swimming pool naturally loses about 1,000 gallons (3,785 liters) a month to evaporation.
1 in 6 gallons of water leak from utility pipes before reaching customers in the US.
Household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons annually nationwide. That’s equal to the annual household water use of more than 11 million homes.
A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year.
Newberry County, Let’s fix our statistics …Drink tap water, fix the leaky pipe, take a shower not a bath, use the dishwasher, use a timer for outdoor watering and use a Rain Barrel, turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth. Limit the number of showers you take.
Credits seametrics.com, groundwater.org