Lyon County Environmental Educator
Water - that often taken-for-granted resource that touches our lives in countless ways and, sadly enough, a resource that gets wasted in countless ways. Before we go over some trivia I want to share an excerpt from National Geographic's online water footprint calculator section: We live in a watery world, with the average American lifestyle fueled by nearly 2,000 gallons of H2O a day. What may come as a surprise is that very little of that - only five percent - runs through toilets, taps, and garden hoses at home. Nearly 95 percent of your water footprint is hidden in the food you eat, energy you use, products you buy, and services you rely on.
Now, even though the majority of our water footprints are "hidden" so to speak, that doesn't mean we should stop conserving water at home/in our daily routines. Fixing leaks, turning the faucet off while brushing teeth/shaving, installing water-saving shower heads and faucets, taking short showers, running clothes washers and dishwashers only when they're full, replacing older toilets with water-saving models; etc., are essential components of protecting a resource we all need for survival. With that said, here are but a few illustrations that give us a little insight as to how much water gets used to make some of the products that enable us to live the life we've become accustomed to. *1,850 gallons to refine one barrel of crude oil. *One pair of blue jeans requires 2,900 gallons to produce, including growing the cotton. *24 gallons to make one pound of plastic. *62,600 gallons to produce one ton of steel. *5.4 gallons to make one board foot of lumber. *11.6 gallons to process one chicken. *One gallon to process a quarter pound of hamburger. *28,100 gallons to process one ton of cane sugar to make processed sugar. *9.3 gallons t o process one can of fruit or vegetables. *589 gallons to produce a pound of cheese. *1,500 gallons used to process one barrel of beer. (For some reason I'm getting hungry and thirsty)
Before we close here are three more tidbits to add to your list of water FYIs: *Water regulates the earth's temperature - it's a natural insulator. *Every glass of water brought to your table in a restaurant requires another two glasses of water to wash and rinse the glass. Ask for water only if you plan on drinking it. *Of all the water we do have on Earth, only about 1 percent is suitable for drinking. The majority of it, 97 percent, is in the oceans and about 2 percent is frozen. From what I understand, desalinization of ocean water is very costly and causes its own environmental problems so it would be great if that process had to be used as little as possible.
Remember to conserve and protect our water supplies. It's for our own health and well-being - not to mention we owe to the kids!
Reminder - The Hazardous Waste Facility now accepts computers/monitors, TVs, printers, fax machines, VCRs and DVD players. Fees charged are the same as those charged at the landfill. Call our office for details.
Remember to reduce, reuse, recycle and buy recycled! For more info or if your club is interested in a presentation (free) regarding recycling/waste reduction and hazardous waste disposal, call the Lyon County Environmental Office at 532-8210.