Water Conservation - Why Conserve?
This fact sheet provides an overview of why water conservation is important for our region, our environment, for future generations, and for your pocketbook.
|Water Conservation Program|
A Finite Supply
Around Puget Sound, you donít need to go very far before running into a source of water. However, our supply of clean drinking water is limited. Taking actions to use this precious resource wisely will ensure that we all have enough fresh drinking water for future generations and ourselves.
Watersheds: The Source Of Our Water
The region's fresh water supply water comes primarily from two sources: the Cedar River Watershed and the Tolt River Watershed, both located in eastern King County. The watersheds are large, uninhabited land areas that gather and store rain and snowmelt. Year-round, 26 cities and water districts rely on a limited supply of stored water from these two sources to meet most of the daily needs of business, government, institutions, and 1.3 million people in our region. In addition to providing clean, clear, reliable drinking water, the watersheds also provide habitat for fish and wildlife.
Water For People, Salmon, And Other Creatures
In the Cedar River Watershed alone, over 60 animal species rely on water to sustain life. With some salmon species now listed as Endangered Species, it is important for each of us to take steps to ensure their survival. Water conservation helps achieve that goal by making sure the needs of people do not have to compete with the needs of fish.
Supply vs. Demand: A Growing Population
In our region, it rains a lot more in the fall, winter, and spring than it does in the summer. People use water in the summer for activities such as watering the lawn/garden and washing the car. Every year, planning takes place to ensure that the amount of melting snow and water in the watersheds will be sufficient to meet water needs until the rains return in the fall. Year-round conservation helps guarantee there will be enough water for everyone, all year long. Since 1990, conservation has helped reduce the amount of water each of us uses every day. Continued efforts through 1% Water Conservation will help assure water supplies through 2010 and beyond.
Itís About Money, Too
Water conservation can help in the pocketbook. Many of the simple actions you can take such as using water wisely outdoors and taking shorter showers are free, easy to do, and save you money. Other actions such as buying a resource-efficient washing machine, putting on a low-volume showerhead, or installing a water-efficient toilet will cost you money up-front but will more than pay for themselves in just a few years (much sooner in the case of a new showerhead).
Delaying The Need For New Water Supplies
Conserving water now can keep down the costs of developing new sources of water. Conservation stretches our water supply, helping our region sustain us during the long time frame it takes to develop new sources of supply.
What Global Warming Has To Do With It
Global warming is the warming of our earth due to the burning of fossil fuels. Human activities such as driving automobiles and generating electricity from coal or natural gas contribute to global warming. Scientists have shown that the Earthís climate is getting warmer due to global warming, but there continues to be dispute over what the future will bring. The uncertainty of the consequences of global warming provides an additional reason to conserve water. Temperature increases in the atmosphere can impact the amount of snow and rain falling on our mountain water sources. Since our water supply relies on the collection of snow that melts throughout the spring and summer, any increase in the rate the snow melts could result in less water for our region during the critical summer months.
Itís In Your Hands
We all make decisions about how much water we use. Every person in the region uses an average of 78 gallons of this precious resource each day. Be careful about your use of water by using it wisely, and help conserve whenever and wherever possible.
1% Water Conservation challenges everyone in the region to reduce their use of water 1% each year for the next 10 years. Set a goal of how many percent savings you would like to achieve. Ways you can conserve water:
- Install a 1.6 gallon toilet
- Buy a water-efficient washing machine
- Repair leaks
- Reduce water use in the yard and garden
- Wash Full loads
- Shorten shower time
- Reduce faucet water use
- Donít waste water outdoors