When the tap stops working

Have you ever gone a single day where you carefully planned out your use of water? What would you do if you went to turn the nozzle on in your shower and nothing came out? Many are facing this issue right now. If pre-emptive measures aren’t taken, this could become our reality. From brushing your teeth first thing in the morning to making dinner after getting off work, an average American uses around sixty gallons of water per day! The flow of water rarely stops until we go to sleep-and sometimes not even then. Just take a look at the breakdown of daily water use here in the U.S.

If habits don’t change, Americans could experience our very own ‘Day Zero’. In January of 2018, Cape Town was astounded when they learned that in just three short months, they would run out of public water for their four-million residents. April 12, 2018 was expected to be a doomsday, yet today it seems they have narrowly avoided the disaster. Due to emergency planning and drastic measures, the population has narrowly avoided running out water. However, they’re not out of danger yet and catastrophe could strike if not for continued careful planning and consumption changes.

We’re experiencing this problem right in our own back yard. The southern belt is having their own crisis with water. What has become known as the “Water Wars” has become a huge issue for the southern states. Georgia, Florida, and Alabama are fighting over the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basin:

  • Georgia: needing to fuel its ever-growing population and agricultural needs
  • Florida: requiring more freshwater for the Apalachicola Bay to continue its thriving shellfish industry and to protect its many endangered species in the area
  • Alabama: scared that whatever water is left won’t be enough for future needs

Even after decades of litigation, this issue has yet to be resolved. The U.S. Supreme Court recently remanded that Florida vs. Georgia require more factual evidence and clarification of legal issues before any decisions can be made. Obviously, we can’t continue to wait years for a decision when these problems are right around the corner.

Could the U.S. learn from Cape Town’s mistake and get ahead of the issue before it turns catastrophic? Considering the ongoing dispute with Florida vs. Georgia, it may be better for consumers to take matters into their own hands.

So, what could YOU do to use less water? Besides shortening your showers and turning off the water while you brush your teeth, it’s especially important to update to energy efficient appliances. Making a conscious effort is important, but it does no good if the appliances you use on a daily basis are tipping the scale and ruining all your efforts. Replacing old shower heads can save hundreds of gallons of water a month. The same could be said about older dishwashers, which can use almost double the amount of water than the new ENERGY STAR certified appliances.

The first step in becoming more energy efficient is to become aware of your own actions. Calculate your water footprint here and figure out how you can make small changes to better improve your water usage and help prevent our very own ‘Zero Day’.