Going for Water – Background
Before electricity and plumbing were widely available to homes, people had to haul their own water from a hand-powered pump, well, or nearby body of freshwater. This work was physically strenuous and time-consuming, so people naturally found ways to conserve water. Today, most homes have plumbing that uses electricity to pump water from a municipal water source or a private well. Because we get our water today with little effort, we use and waste much more.
When water is used wastefully, problems occur at both ends of the plumbing: at the water source and at the destination of the water after its use.
|Water Source||Problems caused by wasting water|
|Municipal water reservoir (lake or river)||Large demand can deplete the supply, especially during droughts.|
|Private well (groundwater)||Large demand can deplete the supply, especially during droughts. In some places, the lack of water pressure under the ground can cause the ground to cave in.|
|Destination||Problems caused by wasting water|
|Municipal water treatment plant (which empties into a lake or river)||Treatment plants are designed to treat a limited volume of water. When the plant is overwhelmed with a high volume, some untreated water overflows directly into the lake or river.|
|Private septic system (tank and drain field)||Large volumes of water put a strain on a septic system so that solids do not have enough time to settle out and the beneficial bacteria cannot effectively treat the wastewater. Then untreated water flows to the drain field and can contaminate groundwater or come to the surface and run off into surface water bodies.|