Why Do We Need to Conserve Water?

Water conservation is important because only a tiny fraction of the world's water supply is both freshwater and readily available for human use. Increasing pressure on freshwater supplies has led to the depletion of underground aquifers, leaving some areas of the world without the water necessary to sustain human and animal populations. Conservation reduces waste and allows natural reservoirs to build back up faster than they are depleted.

Only around 3 percent of the world's water is freshwater, and more than two-thirds of that total is frozen into glaciers and icepack. Another 30 percent is groundwater, leaving a perilously small supply of freshwater at or near the surface that is available for use.

Water conservation can also save energy. Areas with poor natural water supplies must have water pumped in from elsewhere. In California, approximately 6.5 percent of all energy use in the state is devoted to moving water into dry areas.

The average American uses 100 gallons of water per day. Additionally, as many as 10 percent of homes have water leaks that could waste another 90 gallons. Simply installing water-efficient appliances and fixtures can reduce the water consumption of a household by as much as 30 percent, and repairing plumbing leaks nationwide could save as much as 177 billion gallons of water annually.