July 11, 2014
With summer having finally arrived, we are all getting ready to enjoy our favorite summer time activities and treats. However, what most of us don’t realize is just how much water it takes to provide us with these pastimes, and what our water industry is doing to make sure that we can enjoy them for years to come.
When I think of summer, I think of time spent in the pool, eating ice cream and cookouts with family and friends, but I never really take the time to think about how much goes into producing the things I love to do. Let’s start by taking a look at our favorite cookout foods. Did you know that one 1/3 pound hamburger takes approximately 4,000 gallons of water to produce? If your family is anything like mine, a cookout can include 20 to 30 people. If everyone attending eats one hamburger, you have just used 120,000 gallons of water and that doesn’t include the rest of the food and drinks. Add in my two favorite summer foods, corn on the cob (approximately 200 gallons to one pound) and ice cream (approximately 270 gallons of water per gallon of milk), and the amount of water used for one party becomes astronomical.
And, what would summer be without a nice, cool pool to jump into? According to the National Swimming Pool Foundation, there are 10 million swimming pools within the United States. 360,000 of the swimming pools are public pools open year round. It takes 18-20,000 gallons of water to fill a pool one time; that’s 200,000,000,000 gallons of water used in just the United States!
Now, I for one am not going to give up my summer fun. I greatly enjoy spending time in the pool and hanging out with friends and family at various summer parties, but I do think there is a need to understand and appreciate how much water it takes to bring us the things we love. In a world where only 1% of water is usable and quickly depleting, we have to be conscious of the amount of water we are using. It is estimated that by 2025, 2/3 of the world’s population will be living under water-stressed or scarcity conditions. Luckily, our water industry is very aware of this growing problem and constantly developing new technologies to help ensure that we have water sources for years to come. One such technology is water desalination, the process used to remove salts and other minerals from water to make it fresh and usable. This process has successfully been implemented within the Middle East. In fact, according to a Water Online article, “Desalination: A Major Success For Israel?”, Israel has built and operated four desalination facilities since 2005 and has seen such an improvement in the amount of water available that “the problem is no longer on the agenda.” About 80% of the water used in Israel’s homes now comes from desalination plants and a fifth plant is now being built.
With desalination and other technologies such as reverse osmosis, ultrafiltration and various wastewater treatments, we have a strong defense to combat water scarcity. As an agency, HMA works to assist one of the world’s foremost pioneers in water technology in its effort to bring these advanced technologies to industries and plants worldwide. Using different media, such as webinars, print advertising, email engagement campaigns and infographics, we have been able to introduce many winery, food processing, fuel processing and wastewater treatment plants to new technologies. This helps them cut down the amount of water they use and also reuse their wastewater in a safe and healthy way.
It is our goal and the goal of our client to help ensure there is enough water left for generations to come. However, the first step in fighting this growing problem is awareness and education. I highly suggest taking a little time out of your day and reading through some water usage infographics, or viewing a webinar, since these resources are readily available. We need to make a conscious effort to control our water usage and to support our water industry and technologies as they work to ensure that our summers to come are filled with cookouts, ice cream and swimming. After all, what would summer be without a pool to jump into?