Stewardship Monday: Water Water every Where?

From the clouds to the ocean, deep underground and frozen at the top of mountains, water travels and is utilized at every stop. Who and what uses water?

Water is essential for most life. Plants and animals consume it, and it is also habitat. Water influences climate and atmosphere at a local scale and at a larger scale. In California, humans use over half of the available water.

Human water use can actually be categorized in multiple ways. Two common categories are water withdrawal (applied) and water consumption (depleted). As the name implies, water withdrawal, also called applied water, will become available for further use. These uses include some aspects of irrigation and urban water use after which water is returned to the ecosystem. Water consumption, or depleted water, is removed from the ecosystem and can no longer be applied or used. This includes water that is incorporated into crops or products, or is consumed by humans or livestock.

California uses more water than any other state. Most of our water use goes toward irrigation of crops, including some water-intensive crops such as rice and almonds. Each Californian uses 181 gallons of water on average every day! What can you do to reduce water usage at home? Water-saving tip of the week: check your irrigation! No need to run your automatic sprinklers when it has been raining (or as much as you do during the hot summer). Adjust your timers for cooler weather and make sure that you don’t over water to the point that any excess runs off.

Further resources:

http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2014/03/28/to-understand-water-learn-the-math/

http://ca.water.usgs.gov/water_use/

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