So we created this wastewater infographic, in five languages and shared it around the world…
The wastewater cycle explained
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<a href="https://usa.hudsonreed.com/info/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/EN-WATERinfographic-HudsonReed.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="70%" src="https://usa.hudsonreed.com/info/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/EN-WATERinfographic-HudsonReed.jpg" alt="wastewater-infographic"></a><p>World Water Day - Wastewater Infographic by Hudson Reed® - <a href="https://usa.hudsonreed.com/info/blog/world-water-day-2017-wastewater/">See the original Wastewater article.</a></p>
Water terminology explained
Blackwater: heavily polluted waste water and waste water from the toilet.
Graywater: lightly polluted waste water from the bathtub, shower, sink, washing machine and other kitchen appliances.
Greenwater: collected rainwater.
Bluewater: refers to the water in freshwater lakes, rivers and aquifers.
How to reuse water around your home
From saving pasta water to fitting a rain barrel, there are plenty of ways in which you can recycle water around your home. Here’s a few top tips:
- Next time you’re waiting for the shower to reach a comfortable temperature, place a bucket under the shower head until you are ready to step in – you’ll be surprised at how much water collects.
- Don’t pour the water that you’ve used to cook pasta down the drain. Instead, collect the water in a separate pot, and once it’s cooled, you can then use it to water your garden or house plants. Make sure the water is unsalted, otherwise it could kill plants and wildlife.
- Rather than use water out of the faucet to water plants during the dry summer months, collect rainwater in a rain barrel and use this stored water instead.
- Create a rain garden and take advantage of the land’s natural water run-off to nourish plants. A rain garden is made so that it reuses any water that would otherwise drain away into the sewage system.
- Collect the water that you’ve used to wash fruit and vegetables, and reuse it on your garden.
- The water that goes down the drain when you wash your hands or do the laundry is known as graywater. It’s water that doesn’t contain sewage. To ensure this water doesn’t go to waste, install a graywater system, which diverts this water. You could for example divert the water from your shower drain so that it’s used for flushing the toilet. This kind of system can be complicated, so make sure to do your research first.
- Don’t waste the water that runs out of the drainage holes from your potted plants. Place any plants in a deep tray to collect this water, which you can then use to water smaller plants.
- Instead of pouring that almost empty glass of water down the drain because it’s been sat there too long, use it to water plants so it’s not wasted.
Reusing wastewater – the benefits
There are many benefits to using wastewater as a resource rather than a waste product, these include:
- Reduced water bills
- Fewer water resources are used
- You can irrigate the garden during a drought or water restrictions
- Reduced pollution going into waterways
- Helps to save money on new infrastructure for water supplies and wastewater treatment
- Reduces the demand on infrastructure for sewage transport, treatment and disposal
How are plastic microbeads harmful to marine life?
Microbeads are the little bits of plastic that are sometimes added to cosmetic and cleaning products to provide an abrasive effect. For example, in shower gels, microbeads, usually less than 5mm in size, are designed to remove dry cells from the skin’s surface. In fact, just one shower can result in 100,000 microbeads entering the ocean.
Microbeads are also found in face washes and toothpastes. These pieces are small enough to pass through water filtration plants, which means they eventually end up in lakes, rivers and oceans. Fish and other marine life can easily ingest microbeads, and the plastic particles can get stuck in their stomachs, where they can be toxic in big quantities.
But it can be tricky knowing which products contain microbeads, as not all are listed in the ingredients list. Instead, it’s the petrochemical plastics that go into them which are listed, such as polyethylene, polypropylene and polymethylmethacrylate. Nylon may also be on the list, as well as the abbreviations: PET, PTFE and PMMA.
Research by US scientists estimated that more than 8 trillion microbeads enter US aquatic habitats each day, and they suggest a complete ban would be best way to help protect water quality and wildlife.
The good news is that the US will ban the production of personal care products and cosmetics containing microbeads from July 2017. They will also ban the sales of cosmetics containing microbeads July 2018, and over the counter drugs by July 2019.
10 water saving tips
From fitting a low flow shower head to fixing a dripping faucet, there are many ways to reduce water usage around your home. Here’s some top water saving tips:
- Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes, and you’ll save an impressive 1,000 gallons a month
- Turn the faucet off when brushing your teeth and save up to 4 gallons a minute. That’s up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four
- Whether you’re experienced at DIY or need to a hire a plumber, it’s important to fix any leaky faucets as soon as possible. Fixing a leaky faucet can save 140 gallons a week
- Fitting water efficient fixtures provides a simple yet effective way to save water, so fit an aerator to your faucet, upgrade to a water saving dual flush toilet and choose a low flow shower head
- Don’t run the dishwasher or washing machine until it’s full. Half-loads soon add up to gallons of water that only goes to waste
- Keep an eye on your water bills, as a sudden spike can indicate a leak, so call in a plumber to check the pipes to save both water and cash
- Turn the water off when washing your hair and save up to 150 gallons a month
- When ice cubes are left over from your drink, don’t put them in the sink, instead pour them on a plant
- Steam your vegetables instead of boiling them, which not only helps to save water but it will retain more nutrients too.
- Water outdoor plants in the early morning or at the end of the day, which stops water evaporating straight away in the sunlight and heat
Water stress vs water scarcity
Water scarcity affects every continent, and is one of the main problems to be faced by many societies. Water consumption has been growing at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, and an increasing number of regions are chronically short of water.
Hydrologists typically assess scarcity by looking at the population-water equation. An area is experiencing water stress when annual water supplies drop below 1,700 m3 per person. When annual water supplies drop below 1,000 m3 per person, the population faces water scarcity, and below 500 cubic metres “absolute scarcity”.
Around 1.6 billion people face economic water shortage due to the lack of necessary infrastructure to take water from rivers and aquifers. Although there’s enough freshwater on the planet for 7 billion people, it’s distributed unevenly, and far too much is wasted, polluted and unsustainably managed.
Water scarcity: the facts
- Approximately 700 million people in 43 countries suffer from water scarcity
- By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute scarcity
- Due to the existing climate change scenario, almost half the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress by the year 2030, which includes 75-250 million people in Africa
- Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest number of water stressed countries of any region
World Water Day Events – United States
To celebrate World Water Day 2017, a number of events are being held around the United States – from blessing the waters at Thomas F Regan Memorial City Beach in California to discussions on the state of water in Texas. Find out which events are being held near you on the UN Water events map.
To show your support for World Water Day, why not go blue in any way you like – dress in blue, paint yourself blue, bake blue cakes, drink blue drinks – it really doesn’t matter how you do it! WaterAid America would love you to get involved, so go #BlueforWater on March 22nd. It’s easy to be a part of World Water Day and make a difference. By helping to raise funds and spreading the word, you can help to ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to safe, clean water by 2030.