Well Facts

The earth’s total allotment of water has a volume of about 344 million cubic miles. Of this:
— 315 million cubic miles (93%) is sea water.
— 9 million cubic miles (2.5%) is in aquifers deep below the earth’s surface.
— 7 million cubic miles (2%) is frozen in polar ice caps.
— 53,000 cubic miles of water pass through the planet’s lakes and streams.
— 4,000 cubic miles of water is atmospheric moisture.
— 3,400 cubic miles of water are locked within the bodies of living things.

• Most of the earth’s surface water is permanently frozen or salty.

• Over 90% of the world’s supply of fresh water is located in Antarctica.

• If all the world’s water were fit into a gallon jug, the fresh water available for us to use would equal only about one tablespoon.

• It doesn’t take much salt to make water “salty.” If one-thousandth (or more) of the weight of water is from salt, then the water is “saline.”

• Saline water can be desalinated for use as drinking water by going through a process to remove the salt from the water. The process costs so much that it isn’t done on a very large scale. The cost of desalting sea water in the U.S. ranges from $1 to $16 per 1000 gallons.

• The United States consumes water at twice the rate of other industrialized nations.

• 1.2 Billion — Number of people worldwide who do not have access to clean water.

• 6.8 Billion — Gallons of water Americans flush down their toilets every day.

• Each day almost 10,000 children under the age of 5 in Third World countries die as a result of illnesses contracted by use of impure water.

• Most of the world’s people must walk at least 3 hours to fetch water.

• By 2025, 52 countries — with two-thirds of the world’s population — will likely have water shortages.

• The average single-family home uses 80 gallons of water per person each day in the winter and 120 gallons in the summer. Showering, bathing and using the toilet account for about two-thirds of the average family’s water usage.

• The average person needs 2 quarts of water a day.

• During the 20th century, water use increased at double the rate of population growth; while the global population tripled, water use per capita increased by six times.

• Water use in the United States alone leaped from 330 million gallons per day in 1980 to 408 million gallons per day in 1990, despite a decade of improvements in water-saving technology.

• On a global average, most freshwater withdrawals — 69% — are used for agriculture, while industry accounts for 23% and municipal use (drinking water, bathing and cleaning, and watering plants and grass) just 8%.

• Water used around the house for such things as drinking, cooking, bathing, toilet flushing, washing clothes and dishes, watering lawns and gardens, maintaining swimming pools, and washing cars accounts for only 1% of all the water used in the U.S. each year.

• Eighty percent of the fresh water we use in the U.S. is for irrigating crops and generating thermoelectric-power.

• More than 87% of the water consumed in Utah is used for agriculture and irrigation.

• Per capita water use in the western U.S. is much higher than in any other region, because of agricultural needs in this arid region. In 1985, daily per capita consumption in Idaho was 22,200 gallons versus 152 gallons in Rhode Island.

• A corn field of one acre gives off 4,000 gallons of water per day in evaporation.

• It takes about 6 gallons of water to grow a single serving of lettuce. More than 2,600 gallons is required to produce a single serving of steak.

• It takes almost 49 gallons of water to produce just one eight-ounce glass of milk. That includes water consumed by the cow and to grow the food she eats, plus water used to process the milk.

• About 6,800 gallons of water is required to grow a day’s food for a family of four.

• The average American consumes 1,500 pounds of food each year; 1,000 gallons of water are required to grow and process each pound of that food. — 1.5 million gallons of water is invested in the food eaten by just one person! This 200,000-cubic-feet-plus of water-per-person would be enough to cover a football field four feet deep.

• About 39,090 gallons of water is needed to make an automobile, tires included.

• If all the water in the Great Lakes was spread evenly across the continental U.S., the ground would be covered with almost 10 feet of water.

• One gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds.