Water is one of the most vital resources on the planet. Humans, plants, and animals all need it to survive. As human activity increases through population, agriculture, and industry growth, so does our water use.
Water conservation methods are needed to ensure that this important and defining feature of our planet remains abundant.
The majority of Earth is covered in water — so why do we need to conserve this resource? Although more than 70% of the Earth’s surface is water, more than 96% is salt water we cannot use. The remaining 2.5% of Earth’s water is freshwater, and it is distributed as follows:
- More than half is locked up in permanent ice.
- 30% is held in groundwater.
- Only a little over 1.3% is surface water, the main source of water for human use.
This means that out of all the water on Earth, we can only use about 0.01% (this increases to around 1% if you include groundwater).
Florida has a multitude of springs, rivers, and lakes, but all the surface water is sustained by our groundwater resources, mainly the Floridian Aquifer. If we use water faster than the aquifer can be recharged through rainfall, we deplete our water resources.
Water Conservation Tips
We all need water for ourselves, our plants, our animals, and more, but you can still minimize your water use. As a bonus, you'll find that reducing your water use can also lower your water bills.
Use these quick tips in your home and landscape:
- Find and fix leaks.
- Install low-flow toilets and shower heads.
- Run the dishwasher or clothes washer only when you have full loads.
- Water your lawn only if it needs it.
- Repair and calibrate your irrigation system.
- Follow Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles.
Don’t forget that not only do we need enough water to use, but it also has to be clean water. Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection has tips for keeping pollution out of our water.
Water Conservation Resources
Water conservation is going to be a hot issue for our society as the world’s population continues to grow. The following resources can provide more information:
- Your local county Extension office
- Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program
- Florida Water Management Districts
- EPA WaterSense®
Adapted and excerpted from:
N. Taylor, et al., Energy Efficient Homes: The Energy and Water Connection (FCS3273), Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences (Archived).
"Where is Earth's Water Located," United States Geological Survey (01/2013).
"Water Conservation," UF/IFAS Living Green (accessed 01/2013).
Related Sites & Articles
- Hot Topics
- City Forests & Water
- Coastal Wetlands
- Harvesting Rainwater
- UF/IFAS Publications
- Watering Your Florida Lawn
- UF/IFAS Sites
- Conserving Water
- Your Florida Lawn
- UF Water Institute
- Other Sites & Publications
- DEP Recognizes April as Water Conservation Month--Florida DEP
- Clean Water Act: 40th Anniversary--US EPA
- WaterSense--US EPA