Conservation Essay, Research Paper
Water conservation may not seem to be necessary in a state surrounded by water on three sides and filled with thousands of water bodies, but not all of the water is available for drinking or irrigation. Florida’s public water supply is dependent on an underground aquifer that has collected water for millions of years. Inconstant weather cycles with abundant rain followed by drought can not replace the millions of gallons of water that are used daily by a growing population. Although Florida receives an average of fifty-five inches of rain per year, about sixty-five percent of that will evaporate. Only a relatively small percentage of total rainfall replenishes the ground and surface water supplies. It’s up to all of us to conserve now and for the future.
Like many things around us, we seldom appreciate what is plentiful and easy to obtain. What could be more plentiful than water? To get water all we do is just turn on the faucet twenty-four hours a day and it’s there, ready to use. But think again, the water we use doesn’t just magically appear.
Treated water is a carefully manufactured product that appears in people’s home only after traveling through many miles of distribution pipeline and lengthy treatment processes. It’s a valuable resource that should not be wasted.
Just one percent of the entire water supply in the world is available for human use, the rest is salty or locked in ice caps and glaciers. This relatively small one- percent keeps the entire world’s agricultural, manufacturing, community, personal household and sanitation needs operating. We actually drink very little of our processed drinking water (only around one percent of all treated water). The rest goes on lawns, in washing machines, and down toilets and drains.
There are many ways to conserve water reduce unnecessary waste outdoors. Outdoors, for instance one can practice “Water-wise landscaping”. This means evaluating how much water the lawn and landscape really need, learning how and when to apply water in the landscape, understanding that plants thrive with well developed, deep root systems, using plants with lower water requirements and minimizing water waste in the garden. Keep in mind that excess, or wasted, water runs off the land carrying nutrients, sediments and even traces of toxic products into nearby creeks and the St. Johns River.
Fixing leaks and installing a few inexpensive water-saving devices in a home could save someone more than thirty thousand gallons of water each year. Unless the house was built in the last few years, most homes have preconservation era plumbing that guzzles water. Leaks inside a home can waste up to two hundred gallons of water a day. If left unfixed for six months that means as much as thirty-six thousand gallons of water goes unused down the drain. Leaky faucets waste up to twenty gallons of water a day, and if it is hot water, you’re wasting water and the energy required to heat it is wasted as well. Leaky faucets are usually caused by a worn washer or “O” rings and can be easily replaced. So retrofitting a home, fixing leaks and replacing old plumbing fixtures with water-saving ones, are a simple and easy way to protect our drinking water supply and at the same time save money.
The St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) was the first district in Florida to adopt a rule requiring the wise and efficient use of water on a year-round basis. The rule is simple and applies to everyone, including homeowners, businesses, farmers, growers, plant nurseries, industries and golf courses.
JEA is doing its part to try and conserve water by building reclaim water plants in Arlington, Mandarin and St. Johns County. Reclaimed water is wastewater from a sewage treatment plant that has been treated further to meet state and federal criteria for drinking water. In the United States, reclaimed water has been used to irrigate parks, golf courses, and farmlands, and to create wetlands and habitat areas. Reclaimed water is not permitted to be used as potable water, or water that is suitable for drinking.
Using reclaimed water for irrigation and other purposes conserves the valuable and limited supply of drinking water. Just as recycling newspapers, glass and aluminum makes efficient use of our natural resources, recycling wastewater is a practical way to manage a very valuable and limited resource – water.
Reclaimed water can be stored underground by allowing water to filter into the aquifer. This process is referred to as recharging the aquifer. Recharged water acts as a savings account. During periods of low demand water can be stored underground. At peak demand in the summer, reclaimed water can be used for purposes such as irrigation, which reduces the demand on our drinking water supply. JEA is committed to developing its wastewater treatment and disposal facilities in accordance with the best environmental practices. Regional planning studies prepared by the St. Johns River Management District for treated wastewater disposal recommend the reuse of non-potable (non-drinking) water for irrigation
When people conserve water, they also save on other services. When they use less hot water, there is less energy needed to heat that water, thereby reducing their electric bill. When people use less water, they also put less water down their sewer drains, thereby reducing their sewer bill and the amount of sewer that needs to be treated. So people can see, by implementing a simple conservation program, they are helping the environment by helping ease the burden on water storage, disinfecting, distribution and treatment facilities.
As concern for our environment has increased in recent years, so have the federal and state demands on our local water treatment and pollution control plants to improve their processes and facilities. In the face of rising costs for water and sewer services, conservation can be a way for people to do themselves a favor to the environment and to their pocketbook at the same time. People pay for every drop of water, whether it’s used wisely or wasted, so water conservation is something we should all practice.
(Word count 1022)