view of our water resources. Existing rivers, lakes, and
aquifers are all we have for water sources; therefore, we must
protect them. A simple way to do this is to increase water
efficiency, and thus decrease the demand on these sources.
Water Facts. Almost three-fourths of the earth's
surface is water, yet 97 percent of the earth's water supply is
ocean (salt) water. The remaining 3 percent is fresh, but two-
thirds of this is in the form of ice caps and glaciers! The U.S.
alone withdraws over 450 billion gallons of ground and surface
water a day, at least three times the amount of water as the rest
of the world, according to the US Geological Survey. After a
for beneficial use, the remaining 91 percent is lost to
evaporation, transpiration, and runoff to stream flow (which is
never withdrawn and ends up in the oceans).
Water Conservation Benefits. Beyond regulations and
laws, the conservation of water is imperative to the future
economic, social, and physical health of our country and world.
Water is used in every facet of life, from agriculture and
industry to residential and recreational. Besides the benefit of
securing the world's water supply for the future, other important
benefits can be derived from water conservation. Proper water
management can lead to substantial financial savings. Remember,
when water is conserved, energy savings are often observed due to
lessened energy demands for treating, heating, cooling, and
transporting the water. Pollution prevention benefits are
realized in two ways: reduced energy means reduced air pollution,
and less water treatment means less chemical usage.
Water Usage in the Federal Government. The federal
government has not been exempt from the past practices of water
overuse, abuse, and apathy. But, since most federal agencies do
not know how much water they use, what the water is being used
for, or the cost of that water, it is impossible to accurately
state how much water the federal government actually uses. From
data gathered by the Army Corps of Engineers in fiscal year 1989,
however, it is known that global Army water and sewage costs were
nearly 0 million! This would put the total for the Department
of Defense alone at approximately
billion. At an average cost
of /1,000 gallon, this would equate to half a trillion gallons.