Water Conservation 101

Hello, Adventurers! Welcome back to the Coastal Expeditions blog! If this is your first time visiting our blog, we’re happy to have you here. We are all about nature, adventure, and making the most out of the beautiful outdoors of South Carolina. If you enjoy all things hiking, paddling, kayaking, and spending time outdoors, you’ve come to the right place! Here on the blog, we dive deep into different habitats, excursions, conservation efforts, and nature programs. Our site is filled with interactive maps, destination guides, and educational resources. Since the weather is getting warmer, we want to help you get out there and take advantage of all that the Lowcountry has to offer! We offer guided tours of the beautiful Lowcountry by kayak, paddleboard, ferry, boat, and private charter. We also have hands-on workshops taught by highly-trained guides on wilderness skills, birding, identifying native plants, sustainability, and camping. Basically, anything you want to learn about, we teach! If you haven’t already, we encourage you to take a look around our site to learn more about our offerings. Our last article talked about pollinators and their importance to nature. Today, we’ll be talking about the importance of water conservation and how you can help. If you are interested in learning about how and why you should participate in water conservation efforts, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s get started.

 

Water conservation refers to the careful use and preservation of water resources to avoid water scarcity and ensure the availability of water for future generations. Water is the Earth’s most plentiful natural resource, and it is a renewable resource, meaning it replenishes itself to replace what was used or depleted. So, if water is a renewable resource, why do we need to conserve it? While it is true that the Earth will never run out of water, water moves through what is known as the water cycle, and each stage takes different amounts of time to complete. The water cycle is also known as the hydrologic cycle, and consists of the evaporation, condensation, and precipitation of surface runoff that keeps the Earth’s water supply in constant flow. If too much water is used up in one place, it can take longer for it to replenish. This means that local water supplies can potentially run dry due to overuse. 

 

Additionally, fresh water suitable for human consumption only makes up a small percentage of the Earth’s water supply. To be precise, only about three percent of the Earth’s water is freshwater, and about 1.2 percent of that can be used as drinking water. Most of the water we drink comes from rivers and streams. 97% of the Earth’s water is found in the oceans and is too salty to drink or use for growing crops. In the U.S., the average family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day. A significant amount of water is used to grow crops, manufacture goods, and meet the nation’s energy needs. To put it simply, we couldn’t exist without water– It is an essential part of life for all organisms, including humans. 

 

But what is causing the water crisis? One reason is climate change. Climate change disrupts weather patterns, thus leading to unpredictable weather events and water availability. As the Earth gets warmer, the amount of precipitation in many areas lessens. As mentioned above, this interferes with the water cycle, making it take longer for water sources to replenish themselves. Rising temperatures can also lead to deadly pathogens contaminating fresh water sources, putting millions of people at risk. Also due to climate change, droughts have become more frequent– South Carolina has experienced a number of droughts in recent years, with the worst occurring in 2008. Drought conditions in multiple counties within the state reached a “severe” level in 2011, with precipitation, groundwater levels, and stream flows dropping to or near record lows. 

 

Pollution also contributes to water scarcity. Water pollution can come from pesticides and fertilizers that are washed away from farms and industrial waste. It is estimated that 2 million tons of sewage and other effluents drain into the world’s water every day. Many pollutants can penetrate underground, contaminating groundwater. Polluted water cannot be used for drinking, bathing, or agriculture, so this dramatically reduces the amount of useable water within a given area.

 

Another element contributing to the water crisis is the growth of the population. As populations grow, so does the demand and need for water. According to the United Nations, the world population is estimated to reach 9.8 billion by the year 2050. Already, 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water. If we don’t act now to conserve our water supply, that number will grow exceptionally fast. 

 

When reservoir water levels drop, water supplies, human health, and the environment are put at risk. This means that lakes, rivers, and streams will have less water available, and that can be a problem for wildlife that utilizes those water sources to survive. So how can you do your part to conserve water? There are a variety of easy ways that you can make a difference!

 

Saving Water Indoors

 

Do you have a leaky faucet? It is sometimes impossible to avoid, but when it happens, the sooner you fix it, the better. A small leak can add up to gallons of water lost every day! In fact, household leaks can waste nearly 1 trillion gallons of water annually nationwide. Checking your plumbing systems frequently can help you identify leaks faster, and fixing them early not only saves water but also saves you money!

 

Over half of all water use inside of the home takes place in the bathroom, and water is also widely used in the kitchen. Some ways you can cut down on your water use in the bathroom and kitchen are:

 

  • Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth
  • Shower instead of taking a bath, and try to reduce your shower time by one minute each week
  • Install water-saving showerheads or flow restrictors
  • Double-check that the faucet is completely off before leaving the room
  • Turn the water off while washing dishes– And let them soak if needed
  • Use a dishwasher, but make sure that it is fully loaded (The same goes for your washing machine!)
  • Rinse your vegetables by using a bowl or sink full of clean water, rather than letting the tap water run
  • Monitor your water usage on your water bill and adjust your use accordingly

 

Saving Water Outside

There are also steps you can take to conserve water use outside in your yard:

 

  • Water your lawn only when it needs it
  • Position sprinklers so that the water lands on your lawn or garden, not on the sidewalk or other areas that don’t need to be watered
  • Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants to slow the evaporation of moisture
  • Washing your car? Turn off the hose and use a bucket full of soapy water instead
  • Put out a water basin to catch rainwater, and then use it to water your plants 
  • Use a broom to sweep up dirt and debris from outdoor areas, instead of using a hose

 

Another way to save water at home is to invest in WaterSense Certified Products. These products are developed by the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program, which partners with water utilities and product manufacturers to develop water-efficient products. Among the WaterSense products are showerheads, toilets, faucets, spray sprinkler controllers, and irrigation controllers. These products are beneficial to the environment and to your wallet. At your local retailer, simply look for products with the WaterSense label. 

As you can see, water conservation is extremely important to human beings and to the environment. Without water, we wouldn’t survive. We only have one planet, so we need to do our best to take care of it! We hope that you found this article informative and helpful! At Coastal Expeditions, we are always looking for ways to help with environmental conservation. As always, we thank you for reading and we hope to see you back on our blog soon! If you’re looking to explore all that the Lowcountry has to offer, check out our offerings on our website to find the adventure which suits you best! We also offer kid-friendly tours as well as kids programs, camps, and kayak lessons. Our tours are led by knowledgeable, approachable naturalists and sea captains who are eager to answer your questions! Until next time, readers. Get out there and explore! Adventure awaits!

Explore. Chat. Visit. And come on back, y’all.
@coastalexpeditions

Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant Rentals

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Take in the stunning beauty of local creeks and waters from one of our kayaks or SUPs. Walk-ups are welcome or call / text to book and we’ll be ready when you are. All gear and instruction provided.

Call or text 843.884.7684 to book.

Outpost Location

Need A Guide?

If you really want to get a feel for the local history, identify the native wildlife, and get to special places, you'll need someone experienced to show you the way. We'll get you there.

Check out our Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant tours.

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Isle of Palms Rentals

Offering Kayaks and Paddleboards

Take in the stunning beauty of local creeks and waters from one of our kayaks or SUPs. Walk-ups are welcome or call / text to book and we’ll be ready when you are. All gear and instruction provided.

Call or text 843.884.7684 to book.

Outpost Location

Need A Guide?

If you really want to get a feel for the local history, identify the native wildlife, and get to special places, you'll need someone experienced to show you the way. We'll get you there.

Check out our Isle of Palms tours.

Rent a Kayak or Paddleboard Click to Book via Text