Hydration Nation: 3 Surprising Ways America Uses Water
Water is one of the most important chemical compounds on the planet. In fact, an argument could be made that it's one of the most important chemical compounds in the universe as liquid water is essential for the kind of delicate chemistry that makes carbon-based life possible. For us humans, it acts as a jack-of-all-trades: we use it to bathe, dispose of waste, drink, swim in, and even to clean our laundry and dishes.
However, there are some surprising uses as well; here are three ways the U.S. relies on water that you may not have known about.
Power Plants: Our nation's nuclear and fossil fuel-fired power plants use a tremendous amount of water to function. Because they are thermoelectric in nature, they rely on outdated cooling technology that withdraws millions of gallons of water daily to cool its systems. Both saltwater and freshwater sources lose their water for this purpose.
Oil/Gas Refinery: Additionally, water is used to cool refineries so that gasoline and oil can be produced. In fact, it is estimated the U.S. uses one to two billion gallons of water to refine 800 million gallons of petroleum products every day.
Water Bottle Production: In a bizarre turn of events, it costs water to make bottled water. The International Bottled Water Association claims that it takes 1.39 liters of water to make one liter of bottled water. Though plastic takes a heavy toll on our nation's ecosystems, this grossly unsustainable practice is having an impact on our "water footprint."
Unfortunately, that last one is having quite the impact on our environment. Aside from the size of our water footprint which contributes to droughts across the nation, the plastic left behind from the ever-increasing consumption of bottled water (the trend increases an estimated 10% each year) is polluting our oceans and freshwater systems.
Water cooler services, either in the form of residential bottleless water cooler solutions or office water cooler solutions, can go a long way in reducing our plastic waste and water footprint. The next time you're thinking of buying a pack of bottled water, consider all the ways we depend on it and opt for a cleaner solution.