The Impacts of Wasting and Polluting our Drinking Water
When we think about saving water, the first thing that comes to mind is not usually how water conservation has an impact on our environment, energy resources, and local species. How can taking shorter showers help endangered fish in the Delta? How does saving water keep our natural environment healthy? Let’s take a look at some of the several ways wasting water is impacting our environment.
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is one of the most important wildlife estuaries in our region, and it is supplied by the Sacramento River. It is home to endangered species such as the delta smelt fish, and more.
Pleasanton’s local arroyos & streams are supplied with water from Lake Del Valle, and they greatly contribute to the biodiversity of our hometown.
But how do these ecosystems relate to our water? Pleasanton’s drinking water is supplied in part by both the Sacramento River and Lake Del Valle. Thus, Pleasanton residents and local ecosystems share the same water supply. If we over-pump this water for our own use, we will deprive wildlife of the water they need to thrive. We are not the only ones who depend on a steady water supply for survival, so don’t waste this precious resource unnecessarily.
Microplastics are any fragments of plastic with a length of less than 5 mm that can harm natural ecosystems and aquatic life. [source]
San Francisco Bay
17 billion particles of microplastics are released annually by Bay Area Wastewater Treatment Plants because their screens are not small enough to catch them.
Microplastics primarily come from single-use plastics & textiles. These microplastics absorb pollution and threaten wildlife that consume them.
One Possible Solution
Installing up-to-date washing machines with good filters and running fewer loads of laundry can greatly reduce the amount of plastic fibers in our wastewater and ecosystems.
Approximately 19% of California’s electricity is used for transporting and treating wastewater. This number is much higher than other states because California needs to transport its water farther than any other state. The California State Water project, where we get most of our water from, is the single largest consumer of electricity in California.
Conserving water will reduce the amount of water that needs to be treated and transported, therefore reducing our electricity usage and our carbon emissions as a whole. This energy conservation will then reduce the burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of our natural environment.
For a more in-depth description of the relationship between water and electricity/energy, take a look at California’s Water-Energy Nexus.
In our upcoming blog posts, we will continue discussing the different strategies on how to conserve water.