Quest 5: Being water wise

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Is it important to use water wisely, even if our supply seems to be unlimited?

Water is a renewable resource, constantly being recycled through evaporation, transpiration and precipitation. This process takes a long time. In fact, it takes an average of 1400 years for groundwater supplies to be replaced. This means it’s possible to use underground water supplies faster than they are naturally renewed.

Wealthy lifestyles that depend on manufactured goods make much heavier demands on water resources than simple lifestyles. Water is vital to the manufacture of almost every product we use. It takes about 120,000 litres of water to make a car, and about 295,00 litres of water to make 910 kilogrammes of paper. One piece of photocopy paper represents 1.5 litres of water.

In the last 70 years, while the global population has tripled, water use has increased six-fold. By 2025, if all the world’s people use water at the same rate that people in wealthy industrialised nations do today, then 90 percent of all fresh water will be used.

If we want to have a secure water future, then people need to be water wise and look after this precious resource.

Being water wise


Being water wise

Find out more

Poster showing how we use water in New Zealand - Who needs water?

Read more - Water: A Critical Resource (UN Population Fund)

Using water efficiently

Try the family water audit and take action locally and globally.