Water conservation involves an action that sufficiently reduces the loss, use, or waste of water in hopes of preserving its overall quality. A water conservation measure may incorporate an action, behavioral change, device, technological design, or process that achieves the reduction in water consumption. Water efficiency is a term used to describe a tool of water conservation that enforces more efficient water use; therefore, reducing the overall water demand. Residential, commercial, and institutional operators should evaluate the value, cost-effectiveness, and performance of a water efficiency device before employing it on a regular basis.
The goals of water conservation efforts include sustainability, energy conservation, habitat conservation, and water consumption reduction. Water conservation aims to ensure the availability of water for future generations by implementing sustainable measures that do not withdraw fresh water in excess of its natural replacement. On average, water management, pumping, and delivery facilities consume a significant amount of energy, which contributes to unsustainable measures that do not directly involve water consumption. In fact, some regions of the world require 15 percent of its total electricity for water management alone. Excessive water consumption has led to droughts, and the destruction of local wildlife preserves. Water conservation actively works towards mitigating these damages by preserving fresh water habitats, and reinforcing the need to build new dams and other water housing infrastructures. The sustained completion of these goals will contribute to the ultimate goal: a massive decline in water consumption per capital. In addition, water conservation methods will conserve other natural resources, and make the world a cleaner and safer place to live in for decades to come.
The rapid decline of the world's water preserves has prompted municipal and regional governments to enforce water conservation programs. Many of these programs involve launching a public awareness campaign that aims for a cooperative effort in curtailing water consumption by using residential, commercial, and institutional measures. In fact, some of these governments may legally enforce water conservation practices by placing restrictions on residential outdoor water use, such as lawn watering and car washing. Cities with dry climates have required the installation of xeriscaping or natural landscaping to reduce water consumption. In addition, regional governments have enforced water metering, a practice that involves measuring water consumption per household. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that water metering alone can reduce the overall rate of water consumption by nearly forty percent. While some researchers have pointed fingers at agricultural farmers, the vast majority of water conservation advocates believe that a coordinated effort between all facets of society will solve water consumption problems worldwide.
Residential water conservation efforts include the installation of low-flow shower heads, low-flush toilets,composting toilets, dual-flush toilets, saline water or rain water for flushing toilets, faucet aerators, waste water recycling systems, rainwater harvesters, high-efficiency washer and dryers, irrigation controllers, garden hose timers, automatic faucets, and CO2 valve regulators. Non-technological efforts for residential water conservation may include conscious activities, such as not running the faucet while brushing teeth, fixing leaky faucets, shortening showers, and minimizing the lawn watering.
Commercial water conservation installations may include waterless urinals, waterless car washes, infrared taps, water pressurizers, x-ray film processors, cooling towers, steam sterilizers, rain water harvesters. Agricultural conservation methods aim to minimizing losses caused by evaporation, runoff, and subsurface drainage. Industrial and small farmers may use evaporation fans, flood and drip irrigation systems to help mitigate water consumption while maintaining crops and livestock. Many agricultural farmers will also use residential water conservation methods to minimize household water consumption, and may incorporate composting toilets for future crop use. In addition, many farmers may use sprinkler calibrators, timers, and water meters for efficient distribution of their water reserves.
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