Clean water is the world’s most precious commodity. According to World Health Organization estimates as of June 2019, 785 million people lacked even a basic drinking-water service, including 144 million people who are dependent on surface water.
Building, plumbing and green codes help guard our potable water for future generations through proper construction, conservation and safe disposal. Code officials are vigilant protectors of our water supply. Because of their dedicated service, you can turn on the tap in your home and draw sufficient, clean water.
It is important to understand where your water comes from and what's being done (and how you can help!) to protect the water you use every day.
As a homeowner or renter, you need to pay attention to the water supply to your home even if your community offers water and sewage treatment. Make sure that you have functioning backflow protection to prevent cross-contamination while doing things like filling backyard swimming pools.
Backflow occurs when water is caused to flow in an opposite direction due to pressure changes in the pipes. This backflow can contaminate the public drinking water with fertilizer, pesticides, human waste, chlorine from pools/spas, and soap from your sink, dishwasher, and shower. Backflow prevention devices can be installed on your home's water pipes to prevent this from happening. These devices only allow water to flow in one direction. It is recommended to have a backflow preventer installed anywhere incoming water and wastewater might be cross-connected.
Water Supply Cross Connection
Here are some tips you can follow to help keep our water safe:
- Don't dump hazardous waste on the ground. It can contaminate the soil, which could also contaminate the groundwater or nearby surface water.
- Don't overuse pesticides or fertilizers. Many fertilizers and pesticides contain hazardous chemicals which can travel through the soil and contaminate groundwater.
- Never flush nondegradable products down the toilet. Your toilet is not a trash can.
- Scooping up pet waste keeps bacteria from running into storm drains and water supplies.
Water Conservation & Reuse Strategies
Water conservation and efficiency has become increasingly important in recent years due to water scarcity, droughts, and water contamination in many areas of the world. Right now, global and regional agencies are working together to address water shortages and water pollution, but they need support. While the world water crisis is certainly daunting, there are things we can all do to help.
Tips for Conserving Water at Home
- Don’t flush trash down the toilet. Five to seven gallons of water are wasted every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue or other small bit of trash.
- Check your toilets, faucets and pipes for leaks regularly.
- Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators.
- Use your water meter to check for hidden water leaks.
- Insulate your water pipes.
- Take shorter showers. The recommended time is 5 minutes.
- Don’t run the water while brushing your teeth.
- Only wash clothes and run the dishwasher when there is a full load.
- Don’t leave the water running when washing dishes by hand.
Water reuse recycles water from a variety of sources to treat and reuse it for beneficial purposes like agriculture and irrigation and potable water supplies. As world water consumption rises, water reuse becomes increasingly important in enhancing our water security, sustainability and resilience.