WHY CONSERVE WATER?
According to the EPA, from the year 1950 to 2000 the U.S. population has increased nearly 90%. However, in the same period, public demand for water increased 209%. Americans now use an average of 100 gallons of water each day. This increase has put additional stress on water supplies and distribution systems.
Minnesota has the unique attribute that it has an abundance of water. However, it is often misconceived that it does not have an unlimited amount. In fact, the groundwater resources are not immune to over-depletion. It is imperative that we preserve and protect the water sources from over-depletion.
HOW DOES EXCESSIVE WATER USE AFFECT WATER QUALITY?
The demand for water creates the need to dig wells, build dams, and make withdrawals from natural water bodies. Over depleting these sources significantly contributes to “non-point source pollution.” This occurs when water transports across the ground collecting pollutants from various sources. These pollutants eventually get deposited into our drinking water. Failing to use water efficiently can impair our water supply by:
Altering stream flows due to excessive withdrawals.
Causing saltwater to intrude into freshwater aquifers due to excessive withdrawals.
Increasing the amount of dirty runoff water that flows into natural water supplies. This runoff water carries sediments, nutrients, salts and other pollutants. These pollutants can be caused, among other things, by over irrigating urban landscapes or farm fields. Nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are naturally occurring, but habitats can be destroyed when excess amounts of any one nutrient, especially phosphorus, are concentrated in the soil or water.
Creating the need to build additional dams. Dams generate non-point source pollution by trapping sediment and other pollutants, affecting water quality both upstream and downstream. This concentrates pollutants, causes sediment in the river to pile up, decreasing dissolved oxygen, and altering water temperatures.
Click here to learn about some water conservation tips.