In the guide below, we consider some potential ways to save water on wider social or community scale (as opposed to saving water on a more individual level)
We do this by identifying what might be some of the main ways to save water in the three main sectors responsible for most of the world’s water withdrawals
Summary – How To Save Water In Society/As A Community
Sectors That Withdraw The Most Freshwater Resources Globally
Firstly, in order to know how to save water on the society wide/community scale, we might first need to know where the most water is withdrawn and used across society.
There’s three main sectors that are responsible for all freshwater withdrawals globally – agriculture, industry, and municipal use.
The global average withdrawal breakdown of those sectors is:
– 70% of fresh water withdrawals for agriculture (with irrigation being responsible for a large % of water use)
– 20% for industry (with cooling systems for thermo electric power plants being responsible for a large % of water use)
– And, 10% for municipal use
However, it’s also worth noting that these %’s can differ between individual countries, and especially between some more industrialized and less industrialized countries.
How We Waste & Lose Water Across The Three Main Sectors
Secondly, it makes sense to know how and where we waste and lose water across these three sectors, as these areas of water waste and loss might hold some of the most potential to save water
We put together this separate guide where we outline how we waste and lose water across the different sectors
How We Might Use Water More Efficiently & Sustainably Across The Three Main Sectors
Thirdly, it makes sense to identify ways we can use water more efficiently and sustainably across these sectors.
We put together this separate guide where we outline how we might use water more sustainably and efficiently across the different sectors in society
Some of the general types of solution we list and discuss in that guide that may result in saving water are:
– Using less water
– Being more efficient with water use (i.e. getting the same output for less water use, or, getting more output for the same amount of water)
– Reducing water leaks (and other forms of water loss)
– Not wasting water (which can take various forms, and can be direct or indirect water waste)
How To Save Water Across The Three Main Sectors
We outline specific solutions for each sector in the guide below
The Difference Between Saving Water, & Sustainably Managing Water On A Society Wide Scale
Saving water is just one of several potential methods to manage water more sustainably across society.
A sustainable water management strategy for an entire city or town for example might involve saving water, but many other solutions and factors can come into consideration too.
A few guides we’ve put together that discuss wider sustainable water management strategy for cities and towns, are:
– This guide, where we list different factors that might impact whether individual cities and towns have enough water in the future
– This guide, where we list the different ways to sustainably manage and use water, that can be applied generally across different aspects of society
Understanding That Not All Water Use Is Bad
Something we mention in a separate guide is that not all water use is always bad.
The type of water being used matters, as well as the net impact of using that water, plus other factors.
So, saving water (in the sense of using less water) may not always be the top priority when it comes to water management, depending on the potential outcomes of that water use
Saving Water In Agriculture (& Irrigation)
Main Ways To Save Water In Agriculture
Irrigation in particular is a big water user in agriculture, and may be a key area to focus on to save more water in agriculture.
Two of the main ways to save more water in agriculture and irrigation might be:
1. More Efficient & More Precise Irrigation Systems
Inefficient and imprecise irrigation systems can use or waste more water than is necessary.
The type of irrigation system, and the features of the irrigation system (including how modern the technology is), can both impact efficiency and precision.
In regards to the type of irrigation system, ‘drip irrigation’ may use water more effectively and precisely than some ‘spray irrigation’ systems that may or may not flood crop fields, and may result in more evapotranspiration of water, and also water runoff.
In regards to the features of the irrigation system, timers, sensors, the use of satellite technology, and other features can help save water in various ways.
2. Reducing & Repairing Leaks In Irrigation Systems
Reducing leaks may involve solutions and practices like regular maintenance routines for irrigation systems, leak sensors, and leak detection software.
And, repairing leaks would involve repairing leaks as soon as possible after they happen in order to reduce water loss.
Other Ways To Save Water In Agriculture
Read about more ways to potentially save water in agriculture here.
Some of the solutions we discuss in that guide include but aren’t limited to:
– Implementing farming practices that promote soil health, or sustainable water use
– Reducing water pollution and contamination from agriculture
– Considering how water hungry specific agricultural products are
– Reducing food loss in the food supply chain, which indirectly saves water used for irrigation to produce this food
– And, more
Saving Water In Industry
Main Ways To Save Water In Industry
Cooling systems for thermo electric power plants, and in particular once through systems are big water users in industry.
Four of the main ways to save water in industry might be:
1. Capturing, Treating & Reusing More Wastewater
Wastewater that is discharged or dumped from industrial processes without treatment can’t immediately be used again. It’s effectively removed from the water supply, or removed from circulation at that point.
Capturing, treating and reusing more waste water can be one way to ‘save’ water, as it can be recycled for the same use, or another use, without withdrawing as much water in it’s place.
2. Reducing Water Pollution
Water polluted or contaminated during industrial processes experiences a degradation in water quality, and this impacts what uses that water can be used for (unless it’s treated first).
Therefore, finding ways to reduce water pollution and contamination from other industrial processes is the obvious way to address this, and save more water.
3. Reducing Water Leaks From Various Industrial Processes, & Equipment
Water leaks from industrial processes and equipment can happen via improper pipe fittings, improper plumbing methods, and several other causes.
Reducing leaks and addressing these main causes of leaks results in more water saved.
4. Consider Ways To Save Water With Cooling Systems For Thermo Electric Power Generation
Some cooling systems, like once through cooling systems, may only utilize water’s cooling capacity a single time.
Changing the cooling system (to a more closed loop or circular cooling system), substituting freshwater with saltwater (where possible and practical), and other solutions may play a role in addressing this, and helping to save more water.
Other Ways To Save Water In Industry
Read about more ways to potentially save water in industry here.
Saving Water In Municipal Use
Main Ways To Save Water In Municipal Use
Some of the main ways to save more water in municipal use might be:
1. Reduce Water Leaks At Water Treatment Plants
This involves detecting and repairing leaks at treatment plants before the water is sent to public supply pipes
2. Reduce Water Loss & Waste In Public Water Supply Pipes & Network
BEFORE water gets to households and other places where the public water supply is delivered, it has to travel through public supply pipes.
There’s several ways we lose water in public supply pipes, with leaks and burst pipes being two of the main examples.
There’s many things that can be done to better detect leaks, reduce the occurrence of leaks and burst pipes, and respond to and repair leaks and burst pipes more quickly.
In some regions of the world, water theft from the public supply may also need to be an issue that’s addressed.
3. Reducing Leaks In The Household, & Saving More Water In The Household
We’ve produced two separate guide detailing potential ways to save water in the household:
How Much Water We Use At Home, How We Use It, & How To Save It
How Much Water Common Household Appliances & Devices Use
As a brief summary, some of the main tips might be:
– Using water efficient devices and appliances
– Not running water excessively or wastefully for household activities and tasks
– Fixing leaks as soon as they happen (in taps, pipes, toilets, etc)
– Running water efficient sprinklers outside, and having water efficient practices outside the house for gardens, lawns, and so on
– Not wasting as much food, in particular vegetables and fruits (which have a water footprint to grow), at the consumer level
– Being water efficient with the amount of electricity used, and the type of energy source used for electricity
4. Being More Efficient With Water Used For Public Services
Public services can also run water efficient equipment and systems such as sprinkler and irrigation systems used to water sporting fields, parks, and other public places
5. Reducing Water Loss & Waste At Wastewater Treatment Plants
Reducing water leaks, and also different forms of water waste at wastewater treatment plants (after water is used in households and other places, and has been sent to be treated and re-used)
Other Ways To Save Water In Municipal Use
Read about more ways to potentially save water in municipal use here.