Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Earth Week: Day 2 Water Tues April 22

Welcome to The 40th Earth Week, Day 2!

Today we will talk about WATER. Topics covered this week are:

• Monday: Energy and Energy Efficiency

• Tuesday: Water (The Water-Energy Nexus)

• Wednesday: Paper (The Paper in the Water-Energy Nexus)

• Thursday (Earth Day), April 22nd: Plastic … Dress GREEN-ish…

• Friday: What’s Next?


* Few water facts

* We use more than 1,000 gallons of water per day!

* How many gallons of water does it take to power a light bulb?

* How many gallons of water does it take to make food? Clothes?

* So what?

* Our EarthDay Water Tips.

* The World Water Day Quiz from March 22, 2010… with answers and comments. (below)

* What’s tomorrow: the nexus of paper, water and energy.


Water Facts: The Water Resources of Earth

Over 70% of our Earth's surface is covered by water ( we should really call our planet "Ocean" instead of "Earth"). Although water is seemingly abundant, the real issue is the amount of fresh water available.

• 97.5% of all water on Earth is salt water, leaving only 2.5% as fresh water

• Nearly 70% of that fresh water is frozen in the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland; most of the remainder is present as soil moisture, or lies in deep underground aquifers as groundwater not accessible to human use.

• < 1% of the world's fresh water (~0.007% of all water on earth) is accessible for direct human uses. This is the water found in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and those underground sources that are shallow enough to be tapped at an affordable cost. Only this amount is regularly renewed by rain and snowfall, and is therefore available on a sustainable basis.

Source: http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange2/current/lectures/freshwater_supply/freshwater.html


How much water do you use per day?

Indirectly and directly, the average person uses more than 1,000 gallons of water per day:

• 510 for food production – includes irrigation, livestock, etc.

• 465 to produce household electricity – Range: 30 to 600 depending on technology

• 100 direct household use – includes bathing, laundry, lawn watering, drinking, etc.

How many gallons of water does it take to…?

Water to power a 60 Watt light bulb? It takes a lot of water to generate electricity using coal, diesel or nuclear power. Nuclear requires the most water to generate electricity. Estimates are that it takes between 3,000 and 6,000 gallons of water to produce electricity for a 60 watt light bulb, 12 hours per day, for a year! (Link to an article.) Wind power and photovoltaic solar power don’t use any water in operations to produce electricity. Ethanol requires a surprising amount of water during procession. Ethanol from corn, for example, requires about 10 gallons of water for every gallon produced; and that’s not counting the water required to grow the corn, if that’s what’s used.

Water to create a pound of food? (National Geographic, April, 2010). It takes a lot of water to grow crops, and a massive amount to produce animals for food. This has been referred to as virtual water. It takes 37 gallons of water for a cup of coffee counting everything from grow coffee beans, to cleaning them, and to brewing the coffee. To grow a pound of potatoes requires only 31 gallons; beans, 43; and corn, 109. BUT it requires a huge amount of water to produce animal products, since you have to grow the corn or hay first in order to feed it to animals. It requires 371 gallons to produce a pound of cheese; eggs, 400; chicken, 469; pork, 756; and 1,857 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef. Wow! Not only is it healthier for you to eat lower on the food chain, but it would save massive amounts of water (and energy).

Oh, and it requires a huge amount of water to produce clothes -- to so much to grow the cotton, but the water intensive processing required to make cloth and ultimately clothes. It takes 2,700 gallons of water to produce one pair of blue jeans! Countries that are net importers of foods, clothes and other finished products are, essentially, also importing water.

The Nexus of Water and Energy. As you can see, power generation and food creation require large amounts of water. Similarly, water requires energy in many ways. Hydro electric generation from water in dams is a direct relationship. Other requirements of energy are simply to get water from wherever it is, to wherever it is needed. Energy is needed to purify water. With only about 1% of the world’s water as fresh, an obvious way to get fresh water is to process salt water. Unfortunately, desalinization is rather expensive. It’s much easier and cheaper to pump water from the mainland to islands (St. Petersburg and Key West).

Expect that water and water management will become far more important in the future. Probably as important as oil is currently. You should see more disputes over water by states and countries.

Couple cool Energy-Water Nexus sites: http://www.eeweek.org/water_and_energy_wise/connection and



So What?

So energy and water are very closely interconnected. It’s important to conserving water and to use it wisely. Unfortunately, as with most things sustainability related, the people who deal with energy, don’t generally deal with water management, and vice versa. Sustainability requires an integrated approach to most things, especially water and energy.

The World Water Day Quiz from March 22, 2010 (see below)

What’s Next?

Stay tuned for Wednesday’s discussion on the how Paper fits into the Energy-Water nexus.

Save energy, save water…


• www.WaterMatters.org (Great, including Florida specific info.)

• http://www.worldwaterday.org/

• www.UNWater.org

• www.savewaterfl.com (For details & water-saving tips.)

• Bottled Water and Energy: A Fact Sheet http://www.pacinst.org/topics/water_and_sustainability/bottled_water/bottled_water_and_energy.html

• EPA on Water http://www.epa.gov/WaterSense/pubs/waterenergy.html

• Save Water Save Energy brochure: http://www.epa.gov/WaterSense/docs/drops-to-watts508.pdf (including facts).


REPRINT From March 22nd, World Water Day Quiz, with answers

World Water Day Quiz (March 22, 2010)

Quiz winners won a Warner Water Bottle.

1) What percentage (by volume?) of the human body is water (H2O)? __55 to 65__ %

NOTES: Babies start out as mostly water, say 80+ water. Adults vary M/F, weight, etc between about 50% and 70%. (See WebMD for more on this.)

2) Is Florida currently “officially” in a Drought? Yes ….

{Extra note, April 20, 2010: with el Nino weather the rain has been abundant and water levels are pretty good, but water restrictions are still being maintained in many counties/cities.}

South Florida Water Management (called “Swift Mud”) just instituted new year-round water restrictions on March 15, 2010.

3) What number of the world’s 6B+ population have poor/contaminated drinking water?

d. > 1B (www.UNWater.org)

4) Related to human waste (sewage) about how many of the world’s population lack adequate sanitation?

d. >2.0B (2.5 B actually, www.UNWater.org)

5) All of the following are water-related primary cause of death world-wide except:

(diarrhea, malaria and dehydration are all major causes of death. 3.5% of world deaths)

d. (wrong) Texting/phoning and driving into lakes, rivers and oceans.

6) Florida water restrictions (in Tampa, for example) are:

c. Currently in effect because of years of less-than-average rainfall and overuse. (For details & water-saving tips, please visit www.savewaterfl.com.)

7) On average, which uses less water? (Shower or bath, depends…)

a. Taking a shower, if you take shorter showers, especially if low-flow shower.

b. Bath (takes about 30+ gals). Uses less water when compared to longer showers especially in homes built before 1992 (before low-flow requirements).

TIP: Next time you are in a combined tub/shower, take a shower with the pug in to see how full the tub is when you are done taking a “normal” shower. That will answer the question for you which is better, bath or shower.

8) A gallon of tap water (vs. bottled water) costs about? (varies per area & customer)

a. 0.5 cents (numbers rang from fractions of a cent to pennies. A $25 bill for 4,000 gal would be about 6/10 of a cent ($.006 or .6ct). Published computations show less than .1ct for some commercial users to about .7cts.

The cost of bottle water is huge: $5-$12 per gallon if you buy in small bottles; the costs of plastic, transportation and landfill increase this cost with huge externality costs. PLUS at least 25% of bottled water comes from public water sources (PWS on the label) – that’s safe tap water to you and me!

TIP: Water is free in most case, so carry a water bottle around and enjoy clean, clear water; that’s a luxury that a quarter of the world’s population doesn’t enjoy.

9) What classes/course at Warner teach how to drill wells, sanitation and water conservation?

The H.E.A.R.T. program offers really cool education and training for someone going on a mission to a poverty area to help with health & infrastructure building.

Visit www.Warner.Edu/heart/.

10) What idea(s) do you have for Warner to save water?


Tips and easy means to save water. (Thanks Jose S)

• In your house check for leaks from faucets and pipes; even the smallest drip can waste as much as 75 liters a day.

In the bathroom:

• Flush less — remember the toilet is not an ashtray or wastebasket.

• While brushing teeth, shaving, etc., turn off the water.

• When cold water will do, avoid using hot water.

• Take shorter showers — 5 minutes or less.

• In the shower, wet yourself down, turn the water off, lather up, then turn the water on to rinse off soap.

In the kitchen:

• Operate the dishwasher only when you have a full load.

• Scrape, don’t rinse, your dishes before loading in the dishwasher. Run when full.

• When purchasing a dishwasher, consider a water-efficient model.

• Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator or microwave, not under running water.

• Store drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the tap run while you wait for cool water to flow.

• When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water and fill the rinsing sink to one-third or one-half full

— avoid letting the water run continuously in the rinsing sink.

In the laundry:

• For washers with variable settings for water volume, select the minimum amount required per load.

• If load size cannot be set, operate the washer with full loads only.

• Use the shortest wash cycle for lightly soiled loads; normal and permanent press wash cycles use more water.

• Check hoses regularly for leaks.

• Pre-treat stains to avoid rewashing.




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