Water seems like a limitless resource because it is so readily available. We can fill pools, run bathtubs, take long showers, and turn taps on and off all day long. Just because water appears to flow freely from our taps and faucets doesn’t mean that there is an unending supply of it.
Water is actually a precious resource that is becoming scarcer and scarcer. As populations grow, weather patterns change, and our usage needs increase, water will become an even more valuable commodity.
Some states use more water than others. When domestic water usage is measured, indoor and outdoor consumption is measured. This means that a household’s indoor water usage, along with their sprinkler system and outdoor usage is all included in the measurement. Obviously, states that don’t get an abundance of rain tend to see higher usage, as homeowners attempt to keep lawns and landscaping alive. States that receive more rainfall and precipitation logically have lower water usage.
Top 5 US Consumers
California is the largest consumer of water in the US. From 2005 to 2010, California consistently used more water than any other state, followed by Texas, Idaho, Florida, and Colorado. California has been in a severe drought for over four years, and Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency due to the drought in January 2015. California’s snowpack and rivers have been severely depleted, and the governor has set forth a mandate for people to cut their water consumption by 25%.
Many other states are experiencing droughts of varying degrees, although none have reached the severity of California’s drought. States throughout the lower western and midwestern part of the United States are experiencing droughts and using more water per capita than the rest of the nation.
Domestic use tends to be higher in these states, but agricultural water usage accounts for almost sixty percent of water usage nationwide. States in these areas provide a large percentage of our agriculture as far as vegetables and grains.
Learning to conserve
While Colorado uses more water than most other states, we can learn to conserve from our neighbors to the west. Do the little things like take shorter showers, turn the faucet off while shaving or brushing your teeth, run the dishwasher only when it is full, wash full loads of laundry, and use the shortest cycle possible when washing clothes.
If possible, think about taking conversion even further. Xeriscape your garden, so that you need less water for landscaping. Replace old appliances with newer high-efficiency appliances. Make sure you have low-flow showerheads and toilets. Be intentional with your water usage, and make every drop go as far as possible.
Water is a precious gift from our planet, and will only continue to become more scarce.
Colorado Springs has long term plans in place to provide water to households, both from local sources and from sources to the west. These plans have been implemented with population growth and water usage in mind.
Colorado Springs is a city built in what is considered to be a high desert area, so it is important to remember this as you implement changes around your house. Each household proactively conserving water can truly make a difference in water usage, in Colorado and beyond!