Opinion | A mostly hidden problem wastes appalling amounts of water

Robert Gebelhoff, The Washington Post on March 27, 2023

The augmentation of the world population and the subsequent intensification of urbanization and industrialization have brought about a variety of environmental issues, chief among them being water waste. While the hazards of water contamination and shortages have been widely addressed, the deleterious effects of excessive water usage have yet to receive the attention they deserve.

The consequences of squandering water are far-reaching. Not only does it lead to an increased burden on resources, but it also has the potential to disrupt natural habitats and ecosystems. This can be seen, for example, in the California Delta, where the construction of numerous dams and aqueducts has diminished the natural flow of water and led to the destruction of several animal species.

Unfortunately, it appears that the problem is only getting worse. A 2017 United Nations report estimated that more than 2.8 trillion gallons of water are lost annually due to inefficient and outdated infrastructure. This staggering figure equates to the amount of water consumed by more than 17 million people in a single year.

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