Backgrounder Report

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    INTRODUCTION TO WATER SHORTAGE AND WATER SAVING INSTALLATIONS

    Green Flow Company

    MAY 30, 2016 PURDUE UNIVERSITY

    Rong Qu

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    Table of contents

    BACKGROUND 3

    WATER ON EARTH 3

    PEOPLE IN WATER STRESSED AREAS 4

    WASTE OF WATER AROUND THE WORLD 5

    WASTE OF WATER IN OUR CAMPUS 6

    INSTALLATION OF WATER SAVING SYSTEMS 8

    RECOMMENDATION 9

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    Background

    As we all know, water is one of the most valuable resources in the world. Without water, humans could only survive no longer than five days and all species on the earth are in danger of extinction. However, recent studies have shown that water scarcity is becoming one of the biggest challenges in 21st century.

    According to Brandt in 2015, there are more than 750 million people that dont have enough

    drinking water in the world. (Brandt, Y, 2015) This is almost 10 percent of the global population! According to United States Environmental Protection Agency in 2014, 200 billion gallons of water are wasted from taking shower in the United States each year. This amount of water can save at least 5 million people in the world. The huge amount of water people wasted on shower drives us to find out how people could save water from taking shower.

    Water on Earth Water is a very limited and valuable resource. It seems that there is plenty of water on the earth, however humans can use only 0.007% of it. (Thompson, S. A., 17). Most of water resources are oceans or ice, which are hard to use directly. The sea water is salty and bitter which make it hard to drink and irrigate. Although many scientists are studying the method of using ice, the current technical conditions still cannot satisfy large-scale use. The water resources that people could use are river, freshwater, lake and shallow groundwater. The biggest part of freshwater is underground water, which would require a lot of techniques and money to mine. The amount of water that can be directly used by humans every year is 9,000 cubic kilometers, which is only 29% of standard amount to support the global population.

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    Many people in the world are facing the water scarcity issue. (Rijsberman, F. R., 3) The freshwater resources that can feed and sustain all life are quite imbalanced at the regional distribution. America is relatively well off, but China and India, with over a third of the worlds population, have less than 10% of global water. Many countries in the Middle East even dont have one small river or any drinkable water resource. According to Rijsberman in 2006, the 40% of people from 80 countries in the world do not have enough freshwater and about 300 million people are severely water-stressed. Unlike America, many small countries in Africa or Asia have to share rivers or lakes with each other. If upstream countries increase the water consumption, downstream countries would not have enough water and may suffer from drought. The disagreements on the water distribution are main reason of political disputes or even armed conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. The same study has shown that this water-shortage condition is getting worse year by year. From 1900-1975, the agricultural water consumption increased by seven times and industrial water consumption increased by 20 times. In recent decades, water consumption continues to grow at 4-8% per year. If water consumption continues to increase at this speed, 4 billion people will not have enough water by 2025.

    People in water stressed areas Water scarcity will lead to the lack of water resource, which decrease living standards and worsen water-related health problems (Pereira, L. S., Cordery, I., & Iacovides, I., 29). In the areas with water shortage, people are living low-standard lives. Drinking clean water and taking a shower are just wishes to these people. For most of people in water-shortage areas, the only chance to drink fresh and unpolluted water is raining. In some countries in Central Africa, many people even never take a real shower during their whole life.

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    Besides, it is hard for a water-shortage country to develop basic industries without water. These people are living totally pre-industrial life because they do not have food, textile or furniture industries to meet peoples basic needs. These low standard industrial countries have been ruled out from the international trade, causing them poorer and more laggard.

    Hunger and diseases are most common problems. (Pereira, L. S., Cordery, I., & Iacovides, I., 34) Water plays a dominant role in irrigation and breeding aquatics. Famine always comes after drought. Currently, one billion people are starving and nearly 3 million people starve to death every year. Every six seconds, a child is starved to death because of lack of water resource. Also, if people drink polluted water for a long time, many infectious diseases will emerge and

    easily escalate into pandemics, causing people to suffer from illness.

    Waste of water around the world

    Waste of water and water pollution are extremely severe in countries with an abundance of water. Families, agriculture, and industries all have bad habits of wasting water. (Solomon, S., 2011)

    Many people do not have habits of saving water in daily life, making millions of gallons of water used inefficiently while brushing their teeth, washing clothes, and taking a shower.

    Improper agricultural irrigation is the largest part of water waste. The current method of agricultural irrigation is very inefficient, making about the half of water leak and evaporate. One cubic meter of irrigation water comes from rivers and lakes, only 0.45 cubic meters of them can stay in the field. From the 20th century to now, the industrial water consumption increased by 20 times, causing the conflict between living and developing to become more serious.

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    Water pollution is also a significant reason. It wastes so much clean water which could support millions of people. (Cosgrove, W. J., & Rijsberman, F. R. ,24) According to Cosgrove and Rijsberman in 2014, agricultural pollution has been a leading source of many environmental problems such as water pollution in the world. (P.24) The overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides can pollute many rivers. The low control of livestock waste in grazing areas is also a huge problem.

    Along with the development of the economy, industrial pollution becomes more severe in many aspects. (Cosgrove, W. J., & Rijsberman, F. R. ,2014) In some countries with low emission standards, chemical plants discard waste products into rivers for their convenience, leading to severe water contamination. Every year, a large number of industrial countries dump millions of tons of waste into the sea, such as water sludge,

    industrial waste, and even radioactive waste. In addition, oil spill is a main cause of marine pollution and the formation of oil slicks can impact marine life to poison humans through the food chain.

    Waste of water in our campus Water scarcity and water wasting has become a great challenge in the world. It also causes serious problems in our campus. The amount of water available to a country has a direct correlation to living standards. According to United States Environmental Protection Agency in 2014, a person consumes an average amount of 200 gallons water each day. Most people in the U.S. probably use a large amount of water every day, far more than most of the world has access to. Also, as mentioned before, almost 10 percent people already do not have enough drinking water in the world. In other words, this means one day, all the people in the world may face water shortage problem if we do not think about how to save water.

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    We conducted two separate interviews with Lindemood, current manager of Shreve Hall and Yiwen, who is currently living in Shreve Hall. We also sent out a survey around campus and collected more than 70 results. The results show that showering on campus wastes a lot of water, and students agree there needs to be a change.

    Our group conducted a survey on college students showering habits, collecting a total of 70 results from different residential halls, which included 30 males and 40 females. On average students shower six to seven times each week. In addition to this, the results showed that 70% students have to wait for an available shower at least one time each week. Besides, our survey indicates that students on average spend more than 15 min on shower every time, which is almost 40-gallon water!

    Once we learned this, we had a short interview with Yiwen, a resident of Shreve Hall, to discuss his feelings of waiting for an available shower. He complained that some students spend almost 30 minutes in the shower, which not only wastes a lot of water, but is also a huge inconvenience to other students. He also agreed that because of the global water shortage, it is necessary for our university to develop a water saving system that reduces the amount of water wasted.

    The large amount of water usage in the dorms is costly. We had an interview with Lindemood, current manager of Shreve Hall in 2016 to discuss the water usage in the dorms here at Purdue. Due to lack of water saving consciousness and products, Shreve Hall consumes total of 840,000 gallons water each month. Th