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Water Conservation Essay Wikipedia English

Rainwater harvesting is the accumulation and storage of rainwater for reuse on-site, rather than allowing it to run off. Rainwater can be collected from rivers or roofs, and in many places, the water collected is redirected to a deep pit (well, shaft, or borehole), a reservoir with percolation, or collected from dew or fog with nets or other tools. Its uses include water for gardens, livestock, irrigation, domestic use with proper treatment, indoor heating for houses, etc. The harvested water can also be used as drinking water, longer-term storage, and for other purposes such as groundwater recharge.

Rainwater harvesting is one of the simplest and oldest methods of self-supply of water for households usually financed by the user.[1]


Rainwater harvesting provides an independent water supply during regional water restrictions, and in developed countries, is often used to supplement the main supply. It provides water when a drought occurs, can help mitigate flooding of low-lying areas, and reduces demand on wells which may enable groundwater levels to be sustained. It also helps in the availability of potable water, as rainwater is substantially free of salinity and other salts. Application of rainwater harvesting in urban water system provides a substantial benefit for both water supply and wastewater subsystems by reducing the need for clean water in water distribution system, less generated stormwater in sewer system,[2] and a reduction in stormwater runoff polluting freshwater bodies.

A large body of work has focused on the development of lifecycle assessment and lifecycle costing methodologies to assess the level of environmental impacts and money that can be saved by implementing rainwater harvesting systems.

More development and knowledge is required to understand the benefits of rainwater harvesting that can provide to agriculture. Many countries, especially those with arid environments, use rainwater harvesting as a cheap and reliable source of clean water.[3] To enhance irrigation in arid environments, ridges of soil are constructed to trap and prevent rainwater from running down hills and slopes. Even in periods of low rainfall, enough water is collected for crops to grow.[4] Water can be collected from roofs, and dams and ponds can be constructed to hold large quantities of rainwater so that even on days when little to no rainfall occurs, enough is available to irrigate crops.[4]


The concentration of contaminants is reduced significantly by diverting the initial flow of run-off water to waste.[5] Improved water quality can also be obtained by using a floating draw-off mechanism (rather than from the base of the tank) and by using a series of tanks, withdraw from the last in series. Prefiltration is a common practice used in the industry to ensure that the water entering the tank is free of large sediment. Prefiltration is important to keep the system healthy.

Conceptually, a water supply system should match the quality of water with the end use. However, in most of the developed world, high-quality potable water is used for all end uses. This approach wastes money and energy and imposes unnecessary impacts to the environment. Supplying rainwater that has gone through preliminary filtration measures for nonpotable water uses, such as toilet flushing, irrigation and laundry, may be a significant part of a sustainable water management strategy.

System setup[edit]

Rainwater harvesting systems can range in complexity, from systems that can be installed with minimal skills, to automated systems that require advanced setup and installation. The basic rainwater harvesting system is more of a plumbing job than a technical job, as all the outlets from the building terrace are connected through a pipe to an underground tank that stores water.

Systems are ideally sized to meet the water demand throughout the dry season, since it must be big enough to support daily water consumption. Specifically, the rainfall capturing area such as a building roof must be large enough to maintain adequate flow of water. The water storage tank size should be large enough to contain the captured water.[citation needed]

For low-tech systems, many low-tech methods are used to capture rainwater: rooftop systems, surface water capture, and pumping the rainwater that has already soaked into the ground or captured in reservoirs and storing it in tanks (cisterns).

Before a rainwater harvesting system is built, use of digital tools is useful. For instance, to detect if a region has a high rainwater harvesting potential, rainwater-harvesting GIS maps can be made using an online interactive tool. Or, to estimate how much water is needed to fulfill a community's water needs, the Rain is Gain tool helps. Tools like these can save time and money before a commitment to build a system is undertaken, in addition to making the project sustainable and last a long time.

Lifecycle assessment: design for environment[edit]

Contemporary system designs require an analysis of not only the economic and technical performance of a system, but also the environmental performance. Lifecycle assessment is a methodology used to evaluate the environmental impacts of a precut or systems, from cradle-to-grave of its lifetime. Devkota et al.,[6][7] developed such a methodology for rainwater harvesting, and found that the building design (e.g., dimensions) and function (e.g., educational, residential, etc.) play critical roles in the environmental performance of the system. The Economic and Environmental Analysis of Sanitations Technologies, EEAST model evaluates the greenhouse gas emissions and cost of such systems over the lifetime of a variety of building types.

To address the functional parameters of rainwater harvesting systems, a new metric was developed - the demand to supply ratio (D/S) - identifying the ideal building design (supply) and function (demand) in regard to the environmental performance of rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing. With the idea that supply of rainwater not only saves the potable water, but also saves the stormwater entering the combined sewer network (thereby requiring treatment), the savings in environmental emissions were higher if the buildings are connected to a combined sewer network compared to separate one.[7]

Rainwater harvesting by freshwater-flooded forests[edit]

Rainwater harvesting is possible by growing freshwater-flooded forests without losing the income from the used, submerged land.[8] The main purpose of the rainwater harvesting is to use the locally available rainwater to meet water requirements throughout the year without the need of huge capital expenditure. This would facilitate the availability of uncontaminated water for domestic, industrial, and irrigation needs.

Rainwater harvesting by solar power panels[edit]

Good quality water resource, closer to populated areas, is becoming scarcity and costly for the consumers. In addition to solar energy, rain water is major renewable resource of any land. Vast area is being covered by solar PV panels every year in all parts of the world. Solar panels can also be used for harvesting most of the rain water falling on them and drinking quality water, free from bacteria and suspended matter, can be generated by simple filtration and disinfection processes as rain water is very low in salinity.[9][10] Exploitation of rain water for value added products like bottled drinking water, makes solar PV power plants profitable even in high rainfall / cloudy areas by the augmented income from value added drinking water generation.[11]

New approaches[edit]

Instead of using the roof for catchment, the RainSaucer, which looks like an upside-down umbrella, collects rain straight from the sky. This decreases the potential for contamination and makes potable water for developing countries a potential application.[12] Other applications of this free-standing rainwater collection approach are sustainable gardening and small-plot farming.[13]

A Dutch invention called the Groasis Waterboxx is also useful for growing trees with harvested and stored dew and rainwater.

Traditionally, stormwater management using detention basins served a single purpose. However, optimized real-time control lets this infrastructure double as a source of rainwater harvesting without compromising the existing detention capacity.[14] This has been used in the EPA headquarters to evacuate stored water prior to storm events, thus reducing wet weather flow while ensuring water availability for later reuse. This has the benefit of increasing water quality released and decreasing the volume of water released during combined sewer overflow events.[15][16]

Generally, check dams are constructed across the streams to enhance the percolation of surface water into the subsoil strata. The water percolation in the water-impounded area of the check dams can be enhanced artificially manyfold by loosening the subsoil strata and overburden using ANFO explosives as used in open cast mining. Thus, local aquifers can be recharged quickly using the available surface water fully for use in the dry season.


Around the third century BCE, the farming communities in Balochistan (now located in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran), and Kutch, India, used rainwater harvesting for agriculture and many other uses.[17] In ancient Tamil Nadu , rainwater harvesting was done by Chola kings.[18] Rainwater from the Brihadeeswarar temple (located in Balaganpathy Nagar, Thanjavur, India) was collected in Shivaganga tank.[19] During the later Chola period, the Vīrānam tank was built (1011 to 1037 CE) in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu state to store water for drinking and irrigation purposes. Vīrānam is a 16-km-long tank with a storage capacity of 1,465,000,000 cu ft (41,500,000 m3).

Though little-known, for centuries, the town of Venice depended on rainwater harvesting. The lagoon which surrounds Venice is brackish water, which is not suitable for drinking. The ancient inhabitants of Venice established a system of rainwater collection which was based on man-made insulated collection wells.[20] Water percolated down the specially designed stone flooring, and was filtered by a layer of sand, then collected at the bottom of the well. Later, as Venice acquired territories on the mainland, it started to import water by boat from local rivers, but the wells remained in use, and were especially important in time of war when access to the mainland water could be blocked by an enemy.

Current use[edit]

  • In China, Argentina, and Brazil, rooftop rainwater harvesting is being practised for providing drinking water, domestic water, water for livestock, water for small irrigation, and a way to replenish groundwater levels. Gansu province in China and semiarid northeast Brazil have the largest rooftop rainwater harvesting projects going on.
  • Thailand has the largest fraction of the population in the rural area relying on rainwater harvesting (currently around 40%).[21] Rainwater harvesting was promoted heavily by the government in the 1980s. In the 1990s, after government funding for the collection tanks ran out, the private sector stepped in and provided several million tanks to private households, many of which continue to be used. [22] This is one of the largest examples of self-supply of water worldwide.
  • In Bermuda, the law requires all new construction to include rainwater harvesting adequate for the residents.[23]
  • The U.S. Virgin Islands has a similar law.
  • In Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, the houses of the Diola-people are frequently equipped with homebrew rainwater harvesters made from local, organic materials.
  • In the Irrawaddy Delta of Myanmar, the groundwater is saline and communities rely on mud-lined rainwater ponds to meet their drinking water needs throughout the dry season. Some of these ponds are centuries old and are treated with great reverence and respect.
  • In the United States, until 2009 in Colorado, water rights laws almost completely restricted rainwater harvesting; a property owner who captured rainwater was deemed to be stealing it from those who have rights to take water from the watershed. Now, residential well owners who meet certain criteria may obtain a permit to install a rooftop precipitation collection system (SB 09-080).[24] Up to 10 large scale pilot studies may also be permitted (HB 09-1129).[25] The main factor in persuading the Colorado Legislature to change the law was a 2007 study that found that in an average year, 97% of the precipitation that fell in Douglas County, in the southern suburbs of Denver, never reached a stream—it was used by plants or evaporated on the ground. In Colorado, one cannot even drill a water well on properties less than 35 acres (14 ha). Rainwater catchment is mandatory for new dwellings in Santa Fe, New Mexico.[26] Texas offers a sales tax exemption on the purchase of rainwater harvesting equipment. Both Texas[27] and Ohio allow the practice even for potable purposes. Oklahoma passed the Water for 2060 Act in 2012, to promote pilot projects for rainwater and graywater use among other water-saving techniques.[28]
  • In Beijing, some housing societies are now adding rainwater in their main water sources after proper treatment.
  • In Ireland, Professor Micheal Mcginley established a project to design a rainwater harvesting prototype in the biosystems design challenge module at University College Dublin


Main article: Rainwater harvesting in Canada

A number of Canadians have started implementing rainwater harvesting systems for use in stormwater reduction, irrigation, laundry, and lavatory plumbing. Substantial reform to Canadian law since the mid-2000s has increased the use of this technology in agricultural, industrial, and residential use, but ambiguity remains amongst legislation in many provinces. Bylaws and local municipal codes often regulate rainwater harvesting.


  • Pan India Potential: No authenticated potential of rainwater harvesting has been assessed in India.
  • In Andhra Pradesh, the groundwater table is generally below 7 meters from the ground level. By various methods of rainwater harvesting, if the ground water table is raised by 4 meters by using the adequate rainfall available during the monsoon season, crops can be grown through out the year using the ground water without facing water shortage.
  • Tamil Nadu was the first state to make rainwater harvesting compulsory for every building to avoid groundwater depletion. The scheme was launched in 2001 and has been implemented in all rural areas of Tamil Nadu. Posters all over Tamil Nadu including rural areas create awareness about harvesting rainwater TN Govt site. It gave excellent results within five years, and slowly every state took it as a role model. Since its implementation, Chennai had a 50% rise in water level in five years and the water quality significantly improved.[29]
  • Karnataka: In Bangalore, adoption of rainwater harvesting is mandatory for every owner or the occupier of a building having the site area measuring 60 ft (18.3 m) X 40 ft (12.2 m) and above and for newly constructed building measuring 30 ft (9.1 m) X 40 ft (12.2 m) and above dimensions. In this regard, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board has initiated and constructed “Rain Water Harvesting Theme Park” in the name of Sir M. Visvesvaraya in 1.2 acres (4,900 m2) of land situated at Jayanagar, Bangalore. In this park, 26 different type of rainwater harvesting models are demonstrated along with the water conservation tips. The auditorium on the first floor is set up with a "green" air conditioning system and will be used to arrange the meeting and showing of a video clip about the rainwater harvesting to students and general public.[30] An attempt has been made at the Department of Chemical Engineering, IISc, Bangalore to harvest rainwater using upper surface of a solar still, which was used for water distillation[31]
  • In Rajasthan, rainwater harvesting has traditionally been practised by the people of the Thar Desert. Many ancient water harvesting systems in Rajasthan have now been revived.[32] Water harvesting systems are widely used in other areas of Rajasthan, as well, for example the chauka system from the Jaipur district.[33]
  • Kerala:

    Main article: Rainwater harvesting in Kerala

  • Maharashtra: At present, in Pune, rainwater harvesting is compulsory for any new housing society to be registered.
  • In Mumbai, Maharashtra, rainwater harvesting is being considered as a good solution to solve the water crisis.

The Mumbai City council is planning to make rainwater harvesting mandatory for large societies.[34]


The Southwest Center for the Study of Hospital and Healthcare Systems in cooperation with Rotary International is sponsoring a rainwater harvesting model program across the country. The first rainwater catchment system was installed at an elementary school in Lod, Israel. The project is looking to expand to Haifa in its third phase. The Southwest Center has also partnered with the Water Resources Action Project of Washington, DC, which currently has rainwater harvesting projects in the West Bank. Rainwater harvesting systems are being installed in local schools for the purpose of educating schoolchildren about water conservation principles and bridging divides between people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds, all while addressing the water scarcity issue that the Middle East faces.[35]

New Zealand[edit]

Although New Zealand has plentiful rainfall in the West and South, for much of the country, rainwater harvesting is the normal practice for most rural housing and is encouraged by most councils.[36]

Sri Lanka[edit]

Rainwater harvesting has been a popular method of obtaining water for agriculture and for drinking purposes in rural homes. The legislation to promote rainwater harvesting was enacted through the Urban Development Authority (Amendment) Act, No. 36 of 2007.[37] Lanka rainwater harvesting forum[38] is leading the Sri Lanka's initiative.

South Africa[edit]

The South African Water Research Commission has supported research into rainwater harvesting. Reports on this research are available on their 'Knowledge Hub'.[39] Studies in arid, semiarid, and humid regions have confirmed that techniques such as mulching, pitting, ridging, and modified run-on plots are effective for small-scale crop production.[40]

United Kingdom[edit]

Main article: Rainwater harvesting in the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, water butts are often found in domestic gardens and on allotments to collect rainwater, which is then used to water the garden. However, the British government's Code For Sustainable Homes encouraged fitting large underground tanks to newly built homes to collect rainwater for flushing toilets, watering, and washing. Ideal designs had the potential to reduce demand on mains water supply by half. The code was revoked in 2015.


  • In 1992, American artist Michael Jones McKean created an artwork in Omaha, Nebraska, at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art that created a fully sustainable rainbow in the Omaha skyline. The project collected thousands of gallons of rainwater, storing the water in six daisy-chained 12,000 gallons tanks.[41] The massive logistical undertaking, during its five-month span, was one of the largest urban rainwater harvesting sites in the American Midwest.

See also[edit]


  1. ^Rural Water Supply Network. "Rural Water Supply Network Self-supply site". www.rural-water-supply.net/en/self-supply. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  2. ^Behzadian, k; Kapelan, Z (2015). "Advantages of integrated and sustainability based assessment for metabolism based strategic planning of urban water systems". Science of The Total Environment. Elsevier. 527-528: 220–231. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.04.097. 
  3. ^Zhu, Qiang; et al. (2015). Rainwater Harvesting for Agriculture and Water Supply. Beijing: Springer. p. 20. ISBN 978-981-287-964-6. 
  4. ^ abhttp://practicalaction.org/rainwater-harvesting-8
  5. ^New Scientist, 3 April 1999
  6. ^Devkota, J.; Schlachter, H.; Anand, C.; Phillips, R.; Apul, Defne (November 2013). "Development and application of EEAST: A lifecycle-based model for use of harvested rainwater and composting toilets in buildings". Journal of Environmental Management. 130: 397–404. doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2013.09.015. 
  7. ^ abDevkota, Jay; Schlachter, Hannah; Apul, Defne (May 2015). "Life cycle based evaluation of harvested rainwater use in toilets and for irrigation". Journal of Cleaner Production. 95: 311–321. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.02.021. 
  8. ^Rainwater harvesting by fresh water flooded forests
  9. ^"Rain fed solar powered water purification systems". Retrieved 21 October 2017. 
  10. ^"Inverted Umbrella Brings Clean Water & Clean Power To India". Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  11. ^"New rooftop solar hydropanels harvest drinking water and energy at the same time". Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  12. ^"Harvesting rainwater for more than greywater". SmartPlanet. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  13. ^Kumar, Ro. "Collect up to 10 gallons of water per inch of rain with Rainsaucers' latest standalone rainwater catchment". LocalBlu. Archived from the original on 17 December 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  14. ^"Rainwater Harvesting - Controls in the Cloud". SmartPlanet. Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  15. ^O'Brien, Sara Ashley. "The Tech Behind Smart Cities - Eliminating Water Pollution". CNN Money. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  16. ^Braga, Andrea. "Making Green Work, and Work Harder"(PDF). Geosyntec. p. 5. Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  17. ^"Rain water Harvesting". Tamil Nadu State Government, India. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  18. ^"Believes in past, lives in future". The Hindu. India. 17 July 2010. 
  19. ^"Rare Chola inscription found near Big Temple". The Hindu. India. 24 August 2003. 
  20. ^"Venetian wells". 
  21. ^JMP (2016). "Joint Monitoring Programme Thailand Data". Retrieved 2017-03-13. 
  22. ^Saladin, Matthias (2016). "Rainwater Harvesting in Thailand - learning from the World Champions". Retrieved 2017-03-13. 
  23. ^Harry Low (December 23, 2016). "Why houses in Bermuda have white stepped roofs". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-12-23. 
  24. ^"Rainwater Collection in Colorado"(PDF). Colorado water law, notices. Colorado Division of Water Resources. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  25. ^"Criteria and Guidelines for the "Rainwater Harvesting""(PDF). Pilot Project Program. Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). January 28, 2010. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  26. ^Johnson, Kirk (June 28, 2009). "It's Now Legal to Catch a Raindrop in Colorado". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-30.  
  27. ^"82(R) H.B. No. 3391. Act relating to rainwater harvesting and other water conservation initiatives. † went into effect on September 1, 2011". 82nd Regular Session. Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  28. ^"State Rainwater Harvesting Statutes, Programs and Legislation". NCSL. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  29. ^"Tamil Nadu praised as role model for Rainwater Harvesting". Hindu.com. 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  30. ^"Rain Water Harvesting BWSSB - Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board". bwssb.gov.in. 
  31. ^Anjaneyulu, L.; Kumar, E. Arun; Sankannavar, Ravi; Rao, K. Kesava (13 June 2012). "Defluoridation of Drinking Water and Rainwater Harvesting Using a Solar Still". Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. 51 (23): 8040–8048. doi:10.1021/ie201692q. 
  32. ^"Ancient water harvesting systems in Rajasthan". Rainwaterharvesting.org. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  33. ^"Chauka System". rainwaterharvesting.org: technology: rural: improvised. Centre for Science and Environment. Retrieved 2013-10-23. 
  34. ^http://www.mid-day.com/articles/bmc-to-make-rainwater-harvesting-mandatory-for-large-societies/17110192
  35. ^http://www.haaretz.com/rainwater-collection-system-saves-water-money-for-schools-1.8233. 
  36. ^"Rainwater tanks". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 28 April 2016. Archived from the original on 14 April 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2017. 
  37. ^"Parliament Of The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka"(PDF). 
  38. ^"Lanka Rain Water Harvesting forum (LRWHF)". 
  39. ^"Rainwater harvesting". www.wrc.org.za. South African Water Research Commission. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  40. ^Everson C, Everson TM, Modi AT, Csiwila D, Fanadzo M, Naiken V, Auerbach RM, Moodley M, Mtshali SM, Dladla R (2011). Sustainable techniques and practices for water harvesting and conservation and their effective application in resource-poor agricultural production through participatory adaptive research : report to the Water Research Commission(PDF). Gezina [South Africa]: Water Research Commission. p. 89. ISBN 978-1-4312-0185-3. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  41. ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-07. Retrieved 2013-12-17. 

External links[edit]

EEAST model for LCAs of rainwater harvesting systems
Presentation of RainSaucer system to students at orphanage in Guatemala

Water conservation includes all the policies, strategies and activities to sustainably manage the natural resource of fresh water, to protect the hydrosphere, and to meet the current and future human demand. Population, household size, and growth and affluence all affect how much water is used. Factors such as climate change have increased pressures on natural water resources especially in manufacturing and agricultural irrigation.[1] Many US cities have already implemented policies aimed at water conservation, with much success.[2]

The goals of water conservation efforts include:


The key activities that benefit water conservation(save water) are as follows:

  1. Any beneficial reduction in water loss, use and waste of resources.[4]
  2. Avoiding any damage to water quality.
  3. Improving water management practices that reduce the use or enhance the beneficial use of water.[5][6]

One strategy in water conservation is rain water harvesting.[7] Digging ponds, lakes, canals, expanding the water reservoir, and installing rain water catching ducts and filtration systems on homes are different methods of harvesting rain water.[7] Harvested and filtered rain water could be used for toilets, home gardening, lawn irrigation, and small scale agriculture.[7]

Another strategy in water conservation is protecting groundwater resources. When precipitation occurs, some infiltrates the soil and goes underground.[8] Water in this saturation zone is called groundwater.[8]Contamination of groundwater causes the groundwater water supply to not be able to be used as resource of fresh drinking water and the natural regeneration of contaminated groundwater can takes years to replenish.[9] Some examples of potential sources of groundwater contamination include storage tanks, septic systems, uncontrolled hazardous waste, landfills, atmospheric contaminants, chemicals, and road salts.[9] Contamination of groundwater decreases the replenishment of available freshwater so taking preventative measures by protecting groundwater resources from contamination is an important aspect of water conservation.[7]

An additional strategy to water conservation is practicing sustainable methods of utilizing groundwater resources.[7] Groundwater flows due to gravity and eventually discharges into streams.[8] Excess pumping of groundwater leads to a decrease in groundwater levels and if continued it can exhaust the resource.[7] Ground and surface waters are connected and overuse of groundwater can reduce and, in extreme examples, diminish the water supply of lakes, rivers, and streams.[9] In coastal regions, over pumping groundwater can increase saltwater intrusion which results in the contamination of groundwater water supply.[9] Sustainable use of groundwater is essential in water conservation.

A fundamental component to water conservation strategy is communication and education outreach of different water programs.[10] Developing communication that educates science to land managers, policy makers, farmers, and the general public is another important strategy utilized in water conservation.[10] Communication of the science of how water systems work is an important aspect when creating a management plan to conserve that system and is often used for ensuring the right management plan to be put into action.[10]

Social solutions[edit]

Water conservation programs involved in social solutions are typically initiated at the local level, by either municipal water utilities or regional governments. Common strategies include public outreach campaigns,[11][12][13] tiered water rates (charging progressively higher prices as water use increases), or restrictions on outdoor water use such as lawn watering and car washing.[14] Cities in dry climates often require or encourage the installation of xeriscaping or natural landscaping in new homes to reduce outdoor water usage.[15] Most urban outdoor water use in California is residential,[16] illustrating a reason for outreach to households as well as businesses.

One fundamental conservation goal is universal metering. The prevalence of residential water metering varies significantly worldwide. Recent studies have estimated that water supplies are metered in less than 30% of UK households,[17] and about 61% of urban Canadian homes (as of 2001).[18] Although individual water meters have often been considered impractical in homes with private wells or in multifamily buildings, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that metering alone can reduce consumption by 20 to 40 percent.[19] In addition to raising consumer awareness of their water use, metering is also an important way to identify and localize water leakage. Water metering would benefit society in the long run it is proven that water metering increases the efficiency of the entire water system, as well as help unnecessary expenses for individuals for years to come. One would be unable to waste water unless they are willing to pay the extra charges, this way the water department would be able to monitor water usage by public, domestic and manufacturing services.

Some researchers have suggested that water conservation efforts should be primarily directed at farmers, in light of the fact that crop irrigation accounts for 70% of the world's fresh water use.[20] The agricultural sector of most countries is important both economically and politically, and water subsidies are common. Conservation advocates have urged removal of all subsidies to force farmers to grow more water-efficient crops and adopt less wasteful irrigation techniques.

New technology poses a few new options for consumers, features such and full flush and half flush when using a toilet are trying to make a difference in water consumption and waste. Also available are modern shower heads that help reduce wasting water: Old shower heads are said to use 5-10 gallons per minute, while new fixtures available are said to use 2.5 gallons per minute and offer equal water coverage.

Household applications[edit]

The Home Water Works website contains useful information on household water conservation.[21] Contrary to the popular view that the most effective way to save water is to curtail water-using behavior (e.g., by taking shorter showers),[22] experts suggest the most efficient way is replacing toilets and retrofitting washers; as demonstrated by two household end use logging studies in the U.S.[23][24]

Water-saving technology for the home includes:

  1. Low-flow shower heads sometimes called energy-efficient shower heads as they also use less energy
  2. Low-flush toilets and composting toilets. These have a dramatic impact in the developed world, as conventional Western toilets use large volumes of water
  3. Dual flush toilets created by Caroma includes two buttons or handles to flush different levels of water. Dual flush toilets use up to 67% less water than conventional toilets
  4. Faucet aerators, which break water flow into fine droplets to maintain "wetting effectiveness" while using less water. An additional benefit is that they reduce splashing while washing hands and dishes
  5. Raw water flushing where toilets use sea water or non-purified water
  6. Waste water reuse or recycling systems, allowing:
  7. Rainwater harvesting
  8. High-efficiency clothes washers
  9. Weather-based irrigation controllers
  10. Garden hosenozzles that shut off water when it is not being used, instead of letting a hose run.
  11. Low flow taps in wash basins
  12. Swimming pool covers that reduce evaporation and can warm pool water to reduce water, energy and chemical costs.
  13. Automatic faucet is a water conservation faucet that eliminates water waste at the faucet. It automates the use of faucets without the use of hands.

Commercial applications[edit]

Many water-saving devices (such as low-flush toilets) that are useful in homes can also be useful for business water saving. Other water-saving technology for businesses includes:

Agricultural applications[edit]

For crop irrigation, optimal water efficiency means minimizing losses due to evaporation, runoff or subsurface drainage while maximizing production. An evaporation pan in combination with specific crop correction factors can be used to determine how much water is needed to satisfy plant requirements. Flood irrigation, the oldest and most common type, is often very uneven in distribution, as parts of a field may receive excess water in order to deliver sufficient quantities to other parts. Overhead irrigation, using center-pivot or lateral-moving sprinklers, has the potential for a much more equal and controlled distribution pattern. Drip irrigation is the most expensive and least-used type, but offers the ability to deliver water to plant roots with minimal losses. However, drip irrigation is increasingly affordable, especially for the home gardener and in light of rising water rates. Using drip irrigation methods can save up to 30,000 gallons of water per year when replacing irrigation systems that spray in all directions.[25] There are also cheap effective methods similar to drip irrigation such as the use of soaking hoses that can even be submerged in the growing medium to eliminate evaporation.

As changing irrigation systems can be a costly undertaking, conservation efforts often concentrate on maximizing the efficiency of the existing system. This may include chiseling compacted soils, creating furrow dikes to prevent runoff, and using soil moisture and rainfall sensors to optimize irrigation schedules.[19] Usually large gains in efficiency are possible through measurement and more effective management of the existing irrigation system. The 2011 UNEP Green Economy Report notes that "[i]mproved soil organic matter from the use of green manures, mulching, and recycling of crop residues and animal manure increases the water holding capacity of soils and their ability to absorb water during torrential rains",[26] which is a way to optimize the use of rainfall and irrigation during dry periods in the season.

Water Reuse[edit]

Water shortage has become an increasingly difficult problem to manage. More than 40% of the world's population live in a region where the demand for water exceeds its supply. The imbalance between supply and demand, along with persisting issues such as climate change and exponential population growth, has made water reuse a necessary method for conserving water.[27] There are a variety of methods used in the treatment of waste water to ensure that it safe to use for irrigation of food crops and/or drinking water.

Seawater desalination requires more energy than the desalination of fresh water. Despite this, many seawater desalination plants have been built in response to water shortages around the world. This makes it necessary to evaluate the impacts of seawater desalination and to find ways to improve desalination technology. Current research involves the use of experiments to determine the most effective and least energy intensive methods of desalination.[28][29]

Sand filtration is another method used to treat water. Recent studies show that sand filtration needs further improvements, but it is approaching optimization with its effectiveness at removing pathogens from water.[30][31] Sand filtration is very effective at removing protozoa and bacteria, but struggles with removing viruses.[32] Large-scale sand filtration facilities also require large surface areas to accommodate them.

The removal of pathogens from recycled water is of high priority because wastewater always contains pathogens capable of infecting humans. The levels of pathogenic viruses have to be reduced to a certain level in order for recycled water to not pose a threat to human populations. Further research is necessary to determine more accurate methods of assessing the level of pathogenic viruses in treated wastewater.[33]

Wasting of water[edit]

Wasting of water (also called "water waste" in the U.S.) is the flip side of water conservation and, in household applications, it means causing or permitting discharge of water without any practical purpose. Inefficient water use is also considered wasteful. By EPA estimate, household leaks in the U.S. can waste approximately 900 billion gallons (3.4 billion cubic meters) of water annually nationwide.[34] Generally, water management agencies are reluctant or unwilling to give a concrete definition to the somewhat fuzzy concept of water waste.[35] However, definition of water waste is often given in local drought emergency ordinances. One example refers to any acts or omissions, whether willful or negligent, that are “causing or permitting water to leak, discharge, flow or run to waste into any gutter, sanitary sewer, watercourse or public or private storm drain, or to any adjacent property, from any tap, hose, faucet, pipe, sprinkler, pond, pool, waterway, fountain or nozzle.”.[36] In this example, the city code also clarifies that “in the case of washing, “discharge,” “flow” or “run to waste” means that water in excess of that necessary to wash, wet or clean the dirty or dusty object, such as an automobile, sidewalk, or parking area, flows to waste. Water utilities (and other media sources) often provide listings of wasteful water-use practices and prohibitions of wasteful uses. Examples include utilities in San Antonio, Texas.[37] Las Vegas, Nevada,[38] California Water Service company in California,[39] and City of San Diego, California.[40] The City of Palo Alto in California enforces permanent water use restrictions on wasteful practices such as leaks, runoff, irrigating during and immediately after rainfall, and use of potable water when non-potable water is available.[41] Similar restrictions are in effect in the State of Victoria, Australia.[42] Temporary water use bans (also known as "hosepipe bans") are used in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.[43]

Strictly speaking, water that is discharged into sewer, or directly to the environment is not wasted or lost. It remains within the hydrologic cycle and returns to land surface and surface water bodies as precipitation. However, in many cases the source of the water is at a significant distance from the return point and may be in a different catchment. The separation between extraction point and return point can represent significant environmental degradation in the watercourse and riparian strip. What is "wasted" is community's supply of water that was captured, stored, transported and treated to drinking quality standards. Efficient use of water saves the expense of water supply provision and leaves more fresh water in lakes, rivers and aquifers for other users and also for supporting ecosystems. A concept that is closely related to water wasting is "water-use efficiency." Water use is considered inefficient if the same purpose of its use can be accomplished with less water. Technical efficiency derives from engineering practice where it is typically used to describe the ratio of output to input and is useful in comparing various products and processes.[44] For example, one showerhead would be considered more efficient than another if it could accomplish the same purpose (i.e., of showering) by using less water or other inputs (e.g., lower water pressure). However, the technical efficiency concept is not useful in making decisions of investing money (or resources) in water conservation measures unless the inputs and outputs are measured in value terms. This expression of efficiency is referred to as economic efficiency and is incorporated into the concept of water conservation.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

United States 1960 postal stamp advocating water conservation.
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  3. ^Hermoso, Virgilio; Abell, Robin; Linke, Simon; Boon, Philip (2016). "The role of protected areas for freshwater biodiversity conservation: challenges and opportunities in a rapidly changing world". Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. 26 (S1): 3–11. doi:10.1002/aqc.2681. 
  4. ^Duane D. Baumann; John J. Boland; John H. Sims (April 1984). "Water Conservation: The Struggle over Definition". Water Resources Research. 20: 428–434. 
  5. ^Vickers, Amy (2002). Water Use and Conservation. Amherst, MA: water plow Press. p. 434. ISBN 1-931579-07-5. 
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  22. ^http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/02/26/1316402111
  23. ^Mayer, P.W.; DeOreo, W.B.; Opitz, E.M.; Kiefer, J.C.; Davis, W.Y.; Dziegielewski, B.; & Nelson, J.O., 1999. Residential End Uses of Water. AWWARF and AWWA, Denver. http://www.waterrf.org/PublicReportLibrary/RFR90781_1999_241A.pdf
  24. ^William B. DeOreo, Peter Mayer, Benedykt Dziegielewski, Jack Kiefer. 2016. Residential End Uses of Water, Version 2. Water Research Foundation. Denver, Colorado. http://www.waterrf.org/Pages/Projects.aspx?PID=4309
  25. ^"Water-Saving Technologies". WaterSense: An EPA Partnership Program. US Environmental Protection Agency. 
  26. ^UNEP, 2011, Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication, www.unep.org/greeneconomy
  27. ^Wastewater Reuse and Current Challenges - Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-23892-0. 
  28. ^Elimelech, Menachem; Phillip, William A. (2011-08-05). "The Future of Seawater Desalination: Energy, Technology, and the Environment". Science. 333 (6043): 712–717. doi:10.1126/science.1200488. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 21817042. 
  29. ^Han, Songlee; Rhee, Young-Woo; Kang, Seong-Pil (2017-02-17). "Investigation of salt removal using cyclopentane hydrate formation and washing treatment for seawater desalination". Desalination. 404: 132–137. doi:10.1016/j.desal.2016.11.016. 
  30. ^Seeger, Eva M.; Braeckevelt, Mareike; Reiche, Nils; Müller, Jochen A.; Kästner, Matthias (2016-10-01). "Removal of pathogen indicators from secondary effluent using slow sand filtration: Optimization approaches". Ecological Engineering. 95: 635–644. doi:10.1016/j.ecoleng.2016.06.068. 
  31. ^Vries, D.; Bertelkamp, C.; Kegel, F. Schoonenberg; Hofs, B.; Dusseldorp, J.; Bruins, J. H.; de Vet, W.; van den Akker, B. (2017). "Iron and manganese removal: Recent advances in modelling treatment efficiency by rapid sand filtration". Water Research. 109: 35–45. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2016.11.032. PMID 27865171. 
  32. ^"Slow Sand Filtration". CDC.gov. May 2, 2014. 
  33. ^Gerba, Charles P.; Betancourt, Walter Q.; Kitajima, Masaaki (2017). "How much reduction of virus is needed for recycled water: A continuous changing need for assessment?". Water Research. 108: 25–31. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2016.11.020. PMID 27838026. 
  34. ^"Statistics and Facts | WaterSense | US EPA". Epa.gov. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  35. ^"Janet C. Neuman. Beneficial Use, Waste, and Forfeiture:The Inefficient Search for Efficiency in Western Water Use"(PDF). Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  36. ^"14.09.030 Definition of water waste". Qcode.us. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  37. ^"SAWS Report Water Waste - What is Water Waste?". Saws.org. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  38. ^"Water Waste". Lvvwd.com. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  39. ^"Report Water Waste". Cal Water. 2015-12-03. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  40. ^"Water Saving Tips | City of San Diego Official Website". Sandiego.gov. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  41. ^"Water & Drought Update - Palo Alto Water Use Guidelines". Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  42. ^"Permanent water saving rules". Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  43. ^Water UK http://www.water.org.uk/consumers/tubs
  44. ^Dziegielewski, B. J.; Kiefer, C. (January 22, 2010). "Water Conservation Measurement Metrics: Guidance Report"(PDF). American Water Works Association. 

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