Blog: Carlita the Croc

Water, water everywhere?

It takes water to make water. 

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Huh?  Stay with me here. 

In my blog about climate change in Chicago I mentioned that it’s easy for Chicagoans and Midwesterners to take water for granted considering we live on the edge of 84% of the U.S.’s fresh water supply.  Some might think that if desired, the water faucet could get turned and left on until the entirety of Lake Michigan flows through, down the drain, and back out to the lake again. 

Not quite.          
                                                                                                                                   
If you think about it, few would consider a cup of water scooped directly out of Lake Michigan to be just as appealing as a cup of water poured from your faucet.  The difference?  Faucet water has been treated to remove debris and made safe to drink.  That treatment process takes a lot of energy – and water. 

Water and energy are intertwined

Because water treatment process takes lots of energy that means it also makes a lot of heat.  This is where water comes in – water cools down the equipment that is used to process the water.  Lather, rinse, repeat. 

So the more water you use, the more water needs to go through treatment to extract anything harmful so that it can be sent back out to the local waterways, or used for human consumption again.

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Water, water everywhere…literally

Human consumption uses up a lot of water – between 80-100 gallons per person per day for toilet flushing, showering, dishwashing, drinking and cooking, and more.  However, water use at home (domestic use) in Illinois only takes up about 4% of fresh water usage in the United States.  There are a lot of other human enterprises that take up water, too.  For example, all of the fresh foods we eat require lots of water to produce (irrigation, aquaculture, livestock).  Industry, or the manufacturing of products that we use in our daily lives, from clothing to packaging to fuel refinement, takes up a good amount of water.  But the prize for biggest draw of water in the United States, at 49% of total water use, goes to thermoelectric power, aka fossil fuel and nuclear power plants. 

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And now we’ve come full circle…energy conservation is water conservation, and water conservation is energy conservation.

But using water sparingly isn’t the only way to protect water.  Material pollution like drifting litter and discarded fish nets, and the like is a major concern.  Although humans have come up with a way to treat and clean water, scientists are finding not all chemicals are being effectively removed from the water supply.  As you can imagine, these three issues together can have big impacts on the health of humans and nature. 

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Being a creature that spends a lot of my life in water, I am not climbing off my soapbox just yet.  I’ve got more to say about how you and I can have a positive impact on water in my upcoming blogs…so stay tuned!  Keep in touch with your thoughts on water conservation @candidcroc on Twitter and Instagram!

Posted: 4/18/2016 9:09:26 AM by


Carlita the Croc

I'm Carlita the Croc, here to deliver my candid views on various topics, articles, news, and stories in conservation. For the latest news follow me on Twitter, for striking photos follow me on Instagram.

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