How is water “wasted”?


I always hear that we have a limited amount of fresh water. If I take a shower that is too long, and that water is going into my septic tank and back into the ground, is there any harm besides the energy used in pumping and warming it?

In my instance my house is 100% solar powered and we are on a well and septic- am I “wasting” water by brushing my teeth in the shower?

In: Other

Water isn’t wasted but a lot of places have limited amounts of available fresh drinkable water, so when people say not to waste water they really mean don’t waste fresh clean water. Yes we can clean water using various equipment but it’s expensive and energy intensive. A lot of people also have to pay for their home water supply. Mine costs like $200 every 3 months.

Think of wasting water like wasting anything else. When you discard water without somehow utilizing it, it is waste. Like if you cut a heart out of a piece of paper, the leftover pieces are just waste, unless you use it for something else, like compost. Then it is not waste. So, when you run your faucet and the water goes down the drain without being utilized, it’s wasted. If you let your shower “warm up” before using it to clean yourself then that water is wasted. You could install a recirculating pump to eliminate that waste. Or if you don’t turn off the water when brushing your teeth, that water is wasted. If your toilet runs, wasted water. However, it’s not likely you’ll eliminate all water waste. The key is to find ways to reduce it. What are you out when you’re on a 100% solar system on a well, probably not much. But if you live in an area that wastes a lot of water, that water source may eventually not be able to replenish itself before it runs out of water.

I’ve always wondered about this too.
I live near Lake Erie. All of our clean water comes from the lake, and all of out waste water (after treatment) goes back to the lake.

So while it might be a waste of energy, my “wasted water” just goes back to the source.

Many municipal water supplies come from groundwater. If you pump water out of the ground faster than it can be recharged then the level of water in the ground, the water table, drops. Over time and a large enough area this can have a detrimental effect on local ecosystems and agriculture. Also much municipal water is treated, which costs energy, facilities, and money. So if you use more water than you really need, or use water to grow lawns where they don’t normally grow, you are “wasting” resources. Over the long term local water sources could be depleted.

Although water is the ultimate virtuous cycle, precipitation > evaporation > precipitation, the reality for us is that water needs to be available, get collected and distributed first in order to be used, and that often comes at high costs. Demand and costs around water and the impact of that – financially and to peoples and nature, is shared in communities.

Rain or snow has to fall consistently for water to be collected, and whether that happens over the catchment site, is not necessarily reflected by weather near where you live. Often the dams and rainfall run low or may become inadequate. Also as catchments run low, quality of water lessens.

Exclusive use of water for particular communities and damming upstream, can have dire effects downstream, creating humane and natural disasters effecting farming, livelihoods, animals and environments terribly.

Water is needed for other social purposes (hospitals, fire fighting, key industries etc) as much as natural and personal use, to keep society functioning.

In some places, that’s provided by building and operating desalination or reprocessing plants for seawater, industrial waste waters or sewage(London uses sewage) cost a huge amount of money to run.

Where water availability is cheap geographically and climatically, and demand/waste is not as much, there is less cost. Those monies maybe more available both personally and in society, to be put to other purposes, health, education, fun etc.

A good, thoughtful question, about how we value and use this most essential resource, that can impact on society in such a simple way.

The Water that you use goes into the septic tank and then you need to have it cleaned out, the tanker then disposes the sewage into the sewers which open in rivers which flow into the sea. So yeah if you were to use water at an accelerated rate the ground water level will and you will have to dig deeper to get water access. Eventually running out of ground water you will have to depend on water from treatment plants or rain harvesting