25 Facts About Water

Posted Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Water needs our help. We have the same amount of water today as we did when the Earth was formed. Constant use and pollution threaten our water resources.

Experts estimate that nonpoint pollution, that is, agricultural and urban runoff combined with pollution by individuals, threatens our water resources more than industrial pollution.

We all have the opportunity to make positive decisions every day that affect drinking water. For example, whenever we notice a dripping faucet or see a sprinkler operating on a rainy day, we have an opportunity to conserve water by stopping waste. We can also conserve water by buying recycled paper products.

To help you learn more about water, here are 25 basic facts:

  1. The first municipal water filtration works opened in Paisley, Scotland, in 1804.

  2. Of all the earth's water, 97 percent is salt water found in oceans and seas.

  3. Only three percent of the earth's water is fresh water. Two percent is currently frozen.

  4. About two-thirds of the human body is water. Some parts of the body contain more water than others. For example, 70 percent of your skin is water.

  5. There are approximately 55,000 community water systems providing water to the public in the United States.

  6. Public water suppliers process 44 billion gallons of water per day for domestic and public use.

  7. Approximately one million miles of pipelines and aqueducts carry water in the United States and Canada. That's enough to circle the earth 40 times. Skagit PUD has over 600 miles of pipe.

  8. About 800,000 water wells are drilled each year in the United States for domestic, farming, commercial, and water-testing purposes.

  9. Typically, households consume at least 30 percent of their water by lawn sprinkling. Inside, toilets use the most water. The average person flushes over five times per day (household or work). That totals nearly 2,000 flushes per person annually.

  10. In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure that drinking water is safe for human consumption. The Act requires public water systems to monitor and treat drinking water for safety.

  11. The largest single consumer of water in the United States is virtually invisible. Every day, the nation’s power plants use 201 billion gallons of water in the course of generating electricity. That isn’t water used by hydroelectric plants—it’s the water used by coal, gas, and nuclear power plants for cooling and to make steam.

  12. Over 15 million households get their water from their own private wells and are responsible for treating and pumping the water themselves.

  13. More than 79,000 tons of chlorine are used per year in the United States and Canada to treat water.

  14. The average person spends less that one percent of his/her total personal income for water, wastewater, and water disposal services.

  15. You can survive about a month without food but only 5 to 7 days without water.

  16. On average, each American uses about 80-100 gallons of water a day.

  17. One person out of eight­—nearly 900 million people in total­—lacks access to clean water. According to the World Health Organization, in Africa alone 36 percent of the people have no safe drinking water.

  18. The average five-minute shower takes between 12 to 25 gallons of water.

  19. You can refill an eight-ounce glass of water approximately 24,000 times for the same cost as a six-pack of soda.

  20. An automatic dishwasher uses approximately 9 to 12 gallons of water while hand washing dishes can use up to 20 gallons.

  21. If every household in America had a faucet that dripped once each second, 574 million gallons of water a day would leak away.

  22. It takes 338 gallons of water to produce one serving (3 ounces) of beef. The average American eats about seven servings of beef each week.

  23. One gallon of water weighs approximately 8.34 pounds.

  24. One inch of rainfall drops 7,000 gallons, or nearly 30 tons of water, on a 60’ x 180’ piece of land.

  25. We can protect our water sources by properly disposing of household chemicals and pharmaceuticals, preventing them from contaminating our water sources.