Conserving Water on today’s Moment of Science.
With a water shortage looming, we should all try and conserve as much of it as possible. Researchers are hard at work developing different technologies that will help us conserve water and even reuse it. For example, a low-usage toilet can cut water use by up to seventy percent. In 1999, New York City replaced about a million of its toilets with low-usage toilets and saved between seventy and ninety million gallons per day.
What’s more, about seventy percent of the fresh water we use goes towards agriculture. For that, researchers have developed drip irrigation, which delivers water directly to a plant’s roots. It’s more efficient than the standard flooding method of irrigation. For those places that still use the flooding, there are all kinds of options. For non-food crops, some places already use wastewater for irrigation as long as it isn’t too dirty. And then there’s desalinization, where the salt is removed from salt water.
Unfortunately, all of this technology comes at a price. Drip irrigation, for example, is expensive to implement and desalinization requires a lot of electricity, which has its own set of environmental costs. That’s why we all need to do what we can to conserve water.