125 Consequences & Facts About Wasting Water​

Help make a difference and spread the word about the consequences of wasting water,

Steven Wood

Steven Wood

world leaky faucet

When is the last time you stopped and thought about the consequences of wasting water? The best way to get motivated to conserve water and make a difference it so understand the impact our every day actions have. 

Every year the rate at which we consume water has gone up and there is no end in sight. It’s more important than ever so think about water conservation and how we will preserve our world.

Swankyden Image of Saving Water

To help make a difference by raising awareness, I put together a list of 125 consequences and facts about water waste. My biggest take away is that a majority of wasted water comes from wasting food. 

So if there is one thing you can take away from this is try to conserve food and waste as little as possible. About 70% of our water resources are used in agriculture.

Also, please feel to share and publish any information you would like from this blog post to get the message.  It’s easy to talk about tips for saving water ,but it’s not as effective at making a change and getting people to understand what they have to lose by not doing it.

Table of Contents

Water Waste Consequences

Damages Ecosystems

Wastewater is a source and carrier of disease. According to the WHO more than 3.4million people die a year from waterborne diseases. (the leading cause of death)

World half pretty half polluted

It contributes toward the contamination and destruction of natural habitats and the wildlife that inhabit them. It introduces harmful chemicals that would not otherwise be present in that environment

Fresh water contamination is especially important as this ends up directly in your home if it isn’t treated properly.

Saltwater pollution still has an impact as marine life gets exposed to it. When they are eaten, we you get exposed to the same pollution.

It increases the Ph level of water leading to acid rain (to a lesser degree than burning of fossil fuels and power plants).

Oxygen levels in water can be reduced from algal bloom from polluted water.

This lack of oxygen is known as eutrophication and suffocates animal and plants. This creates dead zones or water without life.

Pollution from water waste can cause marine life to acquire high levels of toxin like mercury. This can be seen in tuna and seafood.

Water waste leads to acidification of our oceans which make it harder for shellfish and coral to survive. This can also impact their nervous system and other marine life that eat them.

50% of our wetlands have been dried up or destroyed from water use. Wasting water will continue to destroy these natural resources.

Due to loss of habitat, wasting water can reduce animal diversity. This can impact small species quickly, then the larger ones that depend on them for food later. 

Droughts can be longer and more intense. Water can be used faster than evapotranspiration can work leading to less water in certain areas of the planet.

It will be harder to enjoy rivers and streams. Greater than 2 out of 5 river and stream miles contain nutrient levels that are too high. These are phosphorus and nitrogen.

Plants will become less diverse. If we consume too much water it won’t be replenished fast enough and a portion of it will be reintroduced into the environment polluted.

You’ll see less animals. Similar to the impact on plants, less water available to be consumed by animals will decrease their numbers.

Droughts will become longer and drier lead to more fires. This is especially concerned if you live in an area prone to droughts.

Increases Our Bills

Wastewater is a source and carrier of disease. According to the WHO more than 3.4million people die a year from waterborne diseases. (the leading cause of death)

Paying bill for water waste

Garden hoses release between 6 to 24 gallons of water every minute so watering down your driveway or washing your car will become more expensive or not an option.

The average water bill is $70.39 per month. Wasting water causes bills to rise and leads to a waste of money.

Water saving showers heads will become a non negotiable (you should already be using one). Having one can save as much as 3500 gallons every year.

You’ll have to think twice about when to do laundry. Since laundry machines use 8-12 gallons per wash (even the most efficient ones).

30% of the water bill is on lawns, 20% on toilets, 15% on washers, 12% on  faucets, 10%on leaks, 2% on other, 1%on bath and 1%on dishwashers.

You will have to pay for water at restaurants. If water becomes scarce and more expensive then people will have to charge for this resource.

The amount of water each person uses is growing over time. Now, we use 127% more water per person than we did in 1950.

Wasting electricity by leaving the lights on or raising the thermostat also wastes water because of fracking. A portion of the water is recycled but a large portion is lost because it’s lost deep underground or contaminated with toxic substances. 

Internet services can get more expensive. Just one data center by the national security administration can use 1.7million gallons a day to cool down. 

Safe water can become a scarce resource. We will end up paying more to get the same amount of water for our basic needs.

It Wastes Energy and Money

Wastewater is a source and carrier of disease. According to the WHO more than 3.4million people die a year from waterborne diseases. (the leading cause of death)

In 2017 $113 Billion was spent in the US on water treatment. Increases on taxes and public spending can also be a real impact of wasting water. Communities can save on energy costs if they work together.

Waste water treatment consumes energy which is a contributing factor to global warming. It puts the world closer to the limit of global warming at 34.7 degrees which some experts say can cause irreversible damage.

Sediment can also reduce the capacity of our reservoirs by increasing the wear on pumps and turbines.

Water supply can be further impacted by water waste due to the wear put on water pumps and turbines. This exacerbates the problems of reduced access to usable water.

Water gets polluted due to water waste. It takes much longer to clean polluted water than for the pollution to occur.

Acid rain causes damage to buildings and monuments because it erodes stone, brick and concrete.

Wasting water wastes electricity and energy that is used to pump it out of the ground.

Waste water treatment has grown every year by 2-4% and is expected to keep growing. Avoiding wasting water helps this figure slow down.

State and local governments have been picking up the tab for the increase in cost of water treatment. Wasting water can increase local and state taxes.

An aging water system has caused operations and maintenances expenses raise quicker than capital expenditures in the US.

It Puts Stress on Our Water Treatment Systems​

Wastewater is a source and carrier of disease. According to the WHO more than 3.4million people die a year from waterborne diseases. (the leading cause of death)

It’s estimated that 298 billion in capital investments will be needed to repair wastewater and stormwater systems across the next 20 years. This is worsened by wasting water.

Aging sewer system in the US can overflow which leads to unintended pollution of water sources and oceans.

The epa has estimated that our aging sewage system in the US released 850 billion gallons of wastewater per year.

Wastewater treatment plants can go through 30terawatt hours of electricity every year. This is a cost of 2 billion dollars.

Water treatment plant
Wiki Commons Source

In the US, water treatment facilities process 34billion gallons of water a day. The more waste water we consume the more this number will have to rise.

Bottled water is a bad idea. It takes 3 liters of water to clean for what provides 1 bottle of drinking water. This process also releases carbon dioxide into the air.

25% of the world does cannot access clean drinking water. It’s essential to have water filtration systems to remove disease and toxic elements.

Without proper water treatment you’ll have to go to the dentist more often. Fluoride is added at these plants to strengthen teeth. The more water we waste the more we strain this system.

The EPA estimates that 267 billion should have been invested on water treatment between 2003 and 2023 in the US. Wasting water adds to this bill.

Warmer temperatures due to global warming can impact utilities that rely on snowmelt to gradually release water. Quicker release causes too much runoff and decreasing available water. Making it more important to not waste water.

It Hurts Our Natural Water Resources

Wastewater is a source and carrier of disease. According to the WHO more than 3.4million people die a year from waterborne diseases. (the leading cause of death)

image of the world

Water scarcity is real (including in the US in places like California) making clean water especially important. Overuse of water can expedite contamination of natural water sources causing problems for these areas.

Our planet’s surface is 71% covered by water. Most people naturally believe that a water shortage shouldn’t be possible. However, less than 1% is both usable and available for us so it is a precious resource. Especially with the current rate of population growth.

The regeneration rate is lower than the extraction rate of natural aquifers and groundwater supplies. By overusing water we damage and put strain on these natural resources.

Lakes, rivers and inland seas are in the process of drying up from excessive water use. Too much water is being drawn from them or their tributaries.

Groundwater is also being used faster than it can replenish itself. This can be noted from reports of drops in aquifer levels.

The Niger, The Niles, The Ganges, The Euphrates, The Tigris, The Colorado, Rio Grande and the Yangtze are some of the rivers sufferings from severe flow reduction.

Wasting household water won’t remove it from the global water cycle but it removes it from the readily accessible water facilities.

40 percent of Americans rely on groundwater. Wasting water in these areas reduces the access people can have to clean water. 

Many areas in the US experience water shortages every year. If we don’t conserve water this will become more and more common.

We won’t have bottled water anymore, which should rarely be used anyways. 45% of bottled water in US is just filtered tap water.

We’ll have less lakes and rivers as our natural water sources dry up from excessive water waste. 

You won’t be able to enjoy fresh water lakes and rivers. As natural water sources are used up due to over consumption these places can dry out or become too contaminated for safe use.

Even groundwater will become vulnerable. In general, ground water is safer to human impact but takes much longer to recover once contaminated. (years to decades).

It Pollutes

Wastewater is a source and carrier of disease. According to the WHO more than 3.4million people die a year from waterborne diseases. (the leading cause of death)

pollution pumped into water

The combination of human waste, paint and solvent create harmful humes. These fumes are dangerous when inhaled, which are carried by polluted water. 

Dangerous chemicals can find themselves into crops when wastewater isn’t treated properly..

Freshwater and saltwater are polluted every day due to untreated wastewater. The US EPA estimates that 1.2 trillion gallons of sewage from houses and industrial sources are dumped into the US’s water every year.

80% of ocean pollution comes from land which can be far inland or by the coast. Contaminants which are increased by water waste are funneled into the ocean.

Waste water increases the risk of ground water being exposed to pollution. Once polluted it can be unsafe to use for decades.

Polluted ground water can leak into nearby rivers, lakes, streams and oceans. This further exacerbates the problem,

According to the EPA 50% of the rivers and streams in the USA are in poor condition. Poor condition can lead to less recreational activities and less fish.

According to the EPA more than a third of the lakes in the US are polluted and not suitable for swimming.

80% of the world’s waste water gets put back into the environment without treatment. This can be as high as 95% in some countries. 

80% of ocean pollution comes from land which can be far inland or by the coast. Contaminants which are increased by water waste are funneled into the ocean.

More fossil fuels will be released into the environment and global warming will speed up. Filtering water is an energy intensive process.

Acid rain will become more common. As fossil fuels are released into the air the pollutants will be brought back down on us as acid acid.

Acid rain will cause natural water resources to become polluted further needing filtration. This will exacerbate the need to use fossil fuels to treat it.

It Hurts Our Crops & Food

Wastewater is a source and carrier of disease. According to the WHO more than 3.4million people die a year from waterborne diseases. (the leading cause of death)

Woman and girl watering plant

Soil degradation will cause crops to yield at a slower rate. These crops will eventually be eaten by humans and can be harmful due to contamination.

Less water supplies mean that less will be available for farmers and our agricultural needs. 70% of water used by people is for livestock and crops. Crops cannot grow without water and this can have an impact on food availability.

Access to meat can become limited. It takes 15 times more water to produce 1kg of meat vs 1kg of wheat.

With less water available for crops, scarcity will lead to an increase in prices for your favorite fruits, vegetables and even meats.

Wasting food is wasting water. Agriculture is the largest user of our fresh water sources and a shocking 1/3 of food produced in the world goes to waste.

Half of the water used to make and produce food goes to waste. Saving food is imperative to avoid wasting water. This can actually have the biggest impact on saving water.

In the UK, houses discard 8.3 million metric tons of food and drink every year. This is equal to 64 gallons of water per day per person. 150% more of what a house in the UK uses.

In the US enough food is wasted to equal 10.5 trillion gallons of water. This is enough water for 500 million people. Thats 112lbs of food each month per house of 4.

If we were mindful and did not waste food, the irrigation water used on this wasted food could meet the food demands of 9billion people.

Wasted food (which means wasted water) is contributing to global warming. The wasted food contributes to 10% of greenhouse gas emissions of wealthy countries.

The main culprit for food waste in developing countries is it being lost to rotting in transit. This wastes about 10-15% of the food supply.

It Hurts the Health of The World Population

Wastewater is a source and carrier of disease. According to the WHO more than 3.4million people die a year from waterborne diseases. (the leading cause of death)

image of the world

Wastewater is a source and carrier of disease. According to the WHO more than 3.4million people die a year from waterborne diseases. (the leading cause of death)

According to an assessment by the United Nations, 4,000 children die every day as a result from ingesting dirty water.

Water waste contributes to lack of productivity from communities being impacted by disease. It also increases the bill of health needs the world pays. It is estimated there would be a return $3-$34 return for every $1 spent on clean water.

 The same type of pollutants which leads to acid rain can cause respiratory illnesses and worsen existing conditions. 

Disease spread by water waste include cholera, typhoid and giardia. 

Legionnaires’ Disease impacted thousands of people across the United states as a result of waste waste.

A lead contamination crisis occurred in Flint, Michigan due to water waste. Wasting water puts further pressure on these aging systems.

Wastewater is a source and carrier of disease. According to the WHO more than 3.4million people die a year from waterborne diseases. (the leading cause of death)

It Hurts Our Recreational Activities

Wastewater is a source and carrier of disease. According to the WHO more than 3.4million people die a year from waterborne diseases. (the leading cause of death)

image of the world

Water waste can make it more difficult for boats to navigate in rivers or lakes. Shifting of sediment can change water depth and cause areas to be inaccessible.

Golf courses will dry out and become unusable. The first thing that comes to mind when it comes to golf courses is large patches of bright green grass. Without enough water to maintain them they will dry out.

Statistics show that recreational activity strongly relies on clean water.  Boating, water skiing, swimming, fishing and canoeing will be impacted if we don’t conserve water.

Wasting water creates pollution which  reduces scenic views by causing haze . This is due to sulfur dioxide which obscures the view.

People are exposed to contaminants though skin contact as well as swallowing water while swimming. Wasting water pollutes our rivers, oceans, lakes, streams and ponds. Going for a swim can will be dangerous. 

There will be less forests for camping and hiking.

There’s a wide source of contaminants for recreational water. This includes sediment runoff, industrial facilities and sewage treatment systems. Wasting water put more into the system.

Due to limited resources having a pool may become a thing of the past. 

Poor ecological systems impact the enjoyment of recreational waters. Dead fish or unhealthy plants will not make anyone want to swim in them.

It Wastes Water at Home

Wastewater is a source and carrier of disease. According to the WHO more than 3.4million people die a year from waterborne diseases. (the leading cause of death)

image of the world

95% of home water use goes back down the drain and isn’t used for hydration consumption.

Public water systems are the second largest user of water in US states. About 18% of ground water us used for these systems, including your home.

There are people in the world that live off of 3 gallons of water a day. We used that in 1-2 toilet flushes.

4% of the US’s electricity use is just to move and treat waste water. Wasting water will add to this national bill.

A leaky faucet can that drips at one drop per second can waste 2700 gallons every year. 

One person waste an average of 30 gallons of water every day (not including water wasted by unused food). 

Gardening professionals agree that most people overwater their lawns and yards. This also causes excess toxins from fertilizers and pesticides to reach our drinking water.

Wasting water at home causes you to lose about $380 a year.

Some experts believe up to 50% of outdoor water use for lawns and plants is wasted on automatic irrigation systems.

A leaky faucet can that drips at one drop per second can waste 2700 gallons every year. 

Up to 60% of home water use is to water outdoors. Wasting water with inefficient irrigation can cause increased water bills.

It Will Hurt Us Socially

Wastewater is a source and carrier of disease. According to the WHO more than 3.4million people die a year from waterborne diseases. (the leading cause of death)

image of the world

Clothes can get dull and boring. Dying in India and China dumps a large amount of contaminated wastewater back to sources.

Social media can take a turn for the worse. Facebook used 315 gallon of water in 2016 alone to cool data centers

Jeans can become non-existant. It takes up to 8000 gallons to make a pair from cottonfield to dying.

Fires will become a lot more dangerous than they already are. Having limited access to water will make a firefighters job harder.

Political conflict will escalate. If water becomes a scarce resource, Countries will have to go at odds for this resource.

It Will Reduce Beauty in Our World and Communities

Wastewater is a source and carrier of disease. According to the WHO more than 3.4million people die a year from waterborne diseases. (the leading cause of death)

image of the world

Natural landscapes can lose their beauty due to soil erosion. Wasting water causes more polluted water to contaminant these places.

There might be less glaciers. 2% of the worlds freshwater is currently trapped in ice and if it becomes too scarce it may need to be tapped into.

It’ll be harder to have and maintain a garden. If you live in a dry and arid region, having plants requires water that will become harder and more expensive to maintain.

Your surroundings will lose some of their beauty. A lot of water goes into watering trees, flowers and plants. If it becomes scarce they can lose much needed water.

Your car will have to be okay staying dirty. Since fresh water is used to clean them.

Your streets will become dirtier. Those large street cleaners you see use water to scrub and keep them clean.

40% of citizens in New Mexico still have to have water delivered to them. This will be more common throughout the US if water is continued to be wasted. 

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