Breaking Down the Water Supply
This is a good article from the Georgia Recycling Coalition:
Breaking Down the Water Supply
Water is a common chemical substance, essential to all known forms of life. About 1,460,000,000,000,000 (1,460 trillion) tons of water covers 71% of the Earths surface, but relatively little is suitable for consumption. In many parts of the world, suitable water is in very short supply.
LetÂs scale the worldÂs water supply to a size easier to comprehend like 58 gallons, about the same as a really full bathtub.
Â 55 gallons of that water is saltwater ocean.
Â About 10 pounds of ice is locked in polar ice caps and glaciers.
Â About one drop is in the atmosphere as vapor, clouds, and precipitation.
Â Another drop is in our soil, and part of life itself (our bodies are made up mostly of water, for instance).
Â Our water sources:
o Almost one gallon of that water is below ground in aquifers.
o About four tablespoons is in surface water such as rivers and lakes.
o Three-fourths of this is polluted or otherwise unavailable to us.
o We are left with less than a liter of this water to live on.
RecyclingÂs Role in Water Conservation-- Factoids
Recycling one ton of paper saves 7000 gallons of water.
Production of recycled paper uses 80% less water, 65 % less energy and produces 95% less air pollution than virgin paper production.
Making glass from recycled materials cuts related water pollution by 50% and air pollution by 20%.
Recycling & reusing the material in steel cans reduces energy use by 74%, air pollution by 85%, solid waste by 95%, and water pollution by 76%.
Using aluminum scrap instead of bauxite ore to make new aluminum products cuts air and water pollution by 95% and water use by 40%.
If not recycled, one quart of used motor oil could pollute 250,000 gallons of water.
Using compost (an organic recycled product) increases water retention in soil and helps decrease moisture depletion.
Create drought resistant soils with compost and mulch
A robust, living soil, with sufficient organic content, is the foundation of a water conserving landscape. Compost can increase permeability and water-holding capacity, thereby reducing the need for irrigation and lowering water bills: 1 cubic foot of soil holds roughly 1.5 quarts of water for each 1% of organic matter. And spreading mulch over the surface of all soil reduces evaporation of soil moisture: in the summer, 2 inches of mulch cuts water loss by 20%. To improve drought resistance of soils with compost and mulch:
Â Know your soil texture
Â Incorporate 2-4 inches of compost in the tops 6-12 inches of soil or as much as is specified by a soil analysis to bring the soil organic matter to 3.5% for turf, 5% for planting beds.
Â Topdress with compost around shrubs and trees and on turf. Again, it is important to buy high-quality compost.
Â Regularly apply mulch to all exposed surfaces to encourage living soil, reduce weed growth and evaporation.
Grasscycling, the simple practice of leaving your grass clippings on the lawn is a great way to "recycle" grass clippings and return moisture and nutrients to your lawn.
Consider capturing rain water to use in your yard; here are sites to assist:
In 2006, the Pollution Prevention Assistance DivisionÂs Gold & Silver partner businesses reduced water use by 213 million gallons, and reduced solid waste sent to landfills by 1557 tons, while increasing the use of recycled materials by 35,803 tons.