Wasting water has far-reaching consequences, which include destruction of aquatic environments, lack of agricultural productivity and scarcity of safe drinking water. Increased use of water by human beings leaves less water behind for aquatic ecosystems. Shortages of fresh, clean water caused by wasting of these resources result in dehydration, sickness and tension among people, especially in developing nations.
Cleaning and transporting water takes a large amount of energy. When this water is wasted, larger amounts must be cleaned and transported, and this requires the use of more fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources. The more water that is wasted, the faster these resources become depleted, and the more quickly their dangerous by-products such as carbon dioxide build up in the Earth's atmosphere.
Overuse of water in homes also leaves less fresh water for use in agriculture. If plants cannot be watered due to shortages, crop yields are reduced and the food supply for humans and for livestock is threatened. The fresh water that is cleaned and delivered to homes and businesses is often taken from aquatic environments in which the plants and animals rely on the water to survive. If too much water is removed from these systems and not returned in equal quantities, species become endangered.
In places where clean water is scarce, wasting water limits the amount that is available for other people to use for drinking, cooking and cleaning. In this way, wasting water contributes to illness, disease and starvation.