Water shortages? Of course. But hey it’s no big deal…

We know there is a finite amount of water on this planet, only a small % of which is accessible to us, about 2.5 million trillion gallons according to USGS and 8020.com. But the exact number isn’t the point. It’s all relative.

Even if we used our resources perfectly responsibly, human population is growing. With a finite quantity of water, relative proportion of water to people can only go in one direction.

But water isn’t disappearing. It can’t.

So where is it going? Humans are made up of 70% water, that’s about 13 gallons per person. So a billion more people means about 13 billion fewer gallons of available fresh water, right? Ok, that’s really not that much…

With the average American using just under 90 gallons every day at home, or 33,000 gallons a year, and US population of 323 million, that’s 10.6 trillion gallons each year just in the US, just for household use. But not all of it is gone, right? It is cycled right around and cleaned back up, si o no? Does it go back in the ground?

Or like my nearest city, where sewer water gets treated at a wastewater plant and it flows out into surface waters through wetlands. This, in turn, either

  1. is cleaned even more via plants which lose much of it to transpiration,
  2. evaporates,
  3. flows down river and away from the region, or
  4. recharges the aquifer from which it was pumped.

Whatever amount flows away and out to the sea then becomes tied up as part of the inaccessible saltwater of the oceans.

Big Questions…