It’s easy to take water for granted.
From turning on the sink and filling up a glass with tap water to flushing the toilet, we use water every day. But when is the last time you stopped and thought about where your water actually comes from?
How Much Water Does the Planet Have?
You might remember this fact from your high school science class -- nearly three-quarters of the Earth is covered in water. But 97% of that is salt water, meaning we aren’t able to drink it.
Did you know that just 3% of water on the planet’s surface is fresh water – and only 0.5% of that is clean drinking water? According to the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, the rest of that fresh water is in ice caps, glaciers, the atmosphere, soil or beneath the Earth’s surface, or it’s simply too polluted for us to drink.
How Do I Find Out Where My Water Comes From?
Where your water comes from depends mostly on where you live. If you live in a city or well-populated area, your water likely comes from a freshwater source nearby, like a river or a lake. The water from that river or lake is pumped to a water treatment center to remove bacteria and chemicals. Then, underground pipes will bring it to your home. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), about 258 million people in the U.S. rely on a public supply of water for their home.
But if you live in a rural area, you may get your water from groundwater, which is pumped through a well into your house.
How Can I Learn More About My Water Quality?
If you’re on public water and you want to learn more about its quality, the USGS recommends reading your water supplier’s annual drinking water quality report. That will explain where your water comes from, what contaminants may be in it and how many contaminants are in the water. You can also look to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water for information, which records water-quality reports from water suppliers.
USGS’ National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program has also studied water-quality conditions for about 2,100 domestic wells in the U.S.
Does Everybody Have Clean Drinking Water?
In a developed country like the U.S., that is generally the case. But it’s not like that in other parts of the world. In fact, according to the World Plumbing Council, 900 million school-aged children across the world don’t have access to handwashing facilities – which means they’re much more likely to contract deadly diseases. And three in 10 people worldwide, or 2.1 billion, don’t have access to safe water in their homes.
How Can I Help?
Even though water is readily available here in the U.S., it’s still important to consider ways we can conserve it – especially as the world’s population continues to grow.
Here are just a few simple things you can do that don’t cost anything, and they’ll likely save you money, too!
Turn off the faucet. No need to leave water running the whole time you’re brushing your teeth—turn off the faucet after you wet your toothbrush. When washing your hands, you can also turn off the faucet as you lather up, then turn it back on to rinse.
Take shorter showers. And turn off the water while you are washing your body and hair.
Keep an eye out for leaks in your house, and fix them. It’s easy to miss small leaks, and you could be wasting a lot of water in the meantime.
Our expert plumbers are always available if you’ve got a leak or other water issues in your home. Request an appointment online or give us a call today at 1-877-BEN-1776.