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We know we don't have enough water: why do we waste so much of it?

Have you ever tried asking your friends how much water they use per year?

Did you know that up to 71% of the Earth's surface is water? Some may know, some may not, that up to 96% of all water comes from the oceans. 

Furthermore, just over 1% of all water on the planet is suitable for everyday drinking. In this article, you'll learn how you could save water and what we spend most of our drinking water on.

A family of four spends €300 a year on water

On average, Slovakia consumes 100 litres of water per day per capita. Almost half of this is for personal hygiene and almost a 25% for flushing. A family of four pays almost €300 for water per year, according to the Institute of Environmental Policy (IEP) on their social media. 

That is how much a family spends on water alone if they do not wash the car at home, water the garden or fill the swimming pool in the summer. These activities will increase water consumption considerably. 

Do we really flush our toilets with drinking water? 

Drinking water is essential for every single human organism. The population of Earth is constantly growing and the amount of water is decreasing day by day. 

The climate crisis is causing more and more droughts, and life without water on our planet is simply not possible. 

The Slovak Green Building Council has also already addressed the problem of flushing with drinking water. Industries that consume enormous amounts of water in the production process include, in particular, the fashion industry and the 'fast fashion'. 

However, the fact that we use water for flushing that we could normally drink or cook with is not at all viewed as a negative problem that needs to be changed immediately. 

So why do we flush our toilets with drinking water when there is less and less of it in the world? According to Science for a Changing World's web usgs.gov, more than 96% of all water on the planet comes from the oceans. 

The rest comes from rivers, lakes, glaciers, a certain percentage is water vapor, and let's not forget about plants and animals. Only 2.5% of all the water available on the planet is freshwater. But not all of this water is drinkable either.

Up to 68% of all freshwater is found in glaciers and 30% is groundwater. This means that drinkable water makes up exactly 1.2% (surface water and other fresh water suitable for everyday drinking). 

And that's nowhere near enough to flush the toilet at least ten times a day.

lack of drinking water

Why do we waste so much water? 

Have you ever tried to ask the people around you why they use so much drinking water, even though we clearly don't have enough on the planet?

We did a short survey and asked respondents what activities they spend water on at home. And the answer probably won't surprise you. 

It's simply for the sake of convenience. Some of us shower twice a day. Others, when they need a drink, pour themselves a full glass but pour the unfinished water back down the sink. 

For some, brushing their teeth with water running from the tap is 'something that is an inevitable part of their morning routine'. 

According to Consumer Test 2021, washing dirty dishes in the sink is still more popular than getting a dishwasher, which can save both your time and hectolitres of water.

Imagine spending a day trying to find drinking water

In some African countries, this is a perfectly normal daily routine. Instead of working in the morning, they go to places they've never been and look for a source of drinking water to get them through another day.

This is far from a pleasant image for us, but for more and more countries around the world, water is a commodity that needs to be fought for. 

The situation is absolutely critical in Qatar, Israel and Lebanon. The Middle East region and Africa in particular are at extremely high risk of water scarcity. 

As of 2018, there is already a drinking water problem in India - the second most populated country on Earth. 

If this continues, our daily water consumption is not reduced and litres of precious drinking water are used every day, even for flushing or washing dishes, Slovakia will soon be on the list of countries with a drinking water problem.  

So what are we going to do about it? Let's try showering less today and think about how we waste water in our households.

lack of drinking water

QUICK TIPS ON HOW TO REDUCE YOUR WATER CONSUMPTION: 

  1. We certainly don't need as much water to take a shower as we use - our bodies aren't nearly as dirty as we think they are. 2 minutes is all it takes to shower a whole body. 

  2. Conventional showers use 6 to 45 litres per minute. Buying a new shower head can also solve this problem. A water-saving shower head can save a typical household up to 30,000 litres of water a year. 

  3. If you don't have a dishwasher at home, fill your sink and wash. You wouldn't believe how much water you waste when you wash dishes with the water running. 

  4. Cold water is good for washing just like warm water. You may not think so, but have you ever tried it? Just a little detergent and a dirty plate is clean in secondsý. 

  5. Try to drink from a bottle and do not pour out unfinished water. Water from a bottle is just as tasty the next day. Plus, if you drink from a bottle, you can be sure that no flies have flown into your glass. 

  6. Only flush with as much water as necessary. A water saver can be installed on the toilet to save up to 12,000 litres of water per yeare. 

  7. Keep an eye on the seals on the taps. Sometimes you don't even know how, and in a day your tap can leak much more than a few drops, which can have a big impact on your annual water bill. 

  8. Wash only when the washing machine is full. Approximately 38 litres of water is used per wash cycle - this of course depends on the efficiency of the washing machine, the washing temperature, how much laundry is in the washing machine and, last but not least, how dirty the clothes are.

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