Thursday, September 22, 2011

Water woes

By Carol Weimer
Canastota Corner

It seems so many are water conscious these days. Either folks have too much and they are bailing it out of the cellars or the plants and fields are drying up and people are bringing water to their homes by truck or tank.

This summer as well as last in 2010, we had a spell of drought and ponds and pools were getting dangerously low. This year was almost as bad and many folks who had vegetable and flower gardens were watering them each evening to keep them healthy.

Scientists say we are in drought times, but many of us are inclined not to take these people too seriously.

Nevertheless, when we do have dry spells we realize they just may be right and get a taste of what it would be like if it really happened. This always makes us more frugal with our water supply, trying to see just how much we can save or how long we can get along with a short supply. It is with this in mind that we pass along the following.

Just how much water does a steak dinner cost, anyhow? Of all the water used in the United States, about 6 percent is for residential purposes, 14 percent for industrial use, and a whopping 80 percent for agricultural consumption.

In perspective, here’s what it costs, in terms of gallons of water, to produce a typical American meal:

An eight-ounce baked potato “costs” about 12 gallons of water. Put a single pat of butter on it and you’ve “spent” another 100 gallons. If you’re having chicken, add 408 gallons, plus 18 gallons for green beans, and six gallons for salad, not counting dressing. Dinner rolls at 26 gallons and another 100 gallon pat of butter come up to a grand total of 670 gallons of water for the entire meal.

A meal cheaper in price sometimes costs more in water. For instance, a quarter-pound hamburger, bun, fries and a Coke will cost 1,427 gallons of water — used to manufacture and distribute the packaging materials involved.

However, if you want to go first class and order steak instead of chicken or hamburger, well, one steak costs about 2,607 gallons of our precious water for every single steak serving.

Why am I telling you all of this? The above facts were gathered sometime in the 1980s excerpted from an article by a U.S. Representative from California and published in the Professional Nutritionist.

Something to boggle the mind or just set it to thinking. If it was to set us to thinking way back then, one wonders what percentage of water we use today, some 20 to 25 years now?

Back in the days when folks’ water came from wells — as it does also in many country homes today — water appreciation was one of the things they had to keep in mind. When there is a drought or shortage of water, they are the ones who have to be mindful sooner than those who are on the water lines who receive their water from water authorities.

On the farm, grandmother used to throw her dish water out the back door off the porch steps where her flowers grew and her garden was always a beauty to be seen. Families don’t take as many showers each day, the family car doesn’t get as many baths. In today’s family, there are generally more than one car, and sometimes as many as four or five, depending on how many children are now old enough to drive and have their license. Well owners sometimes have to frequent the laundromat instead of doing the wash at home, trying to save on use of water.

We are a nation that doesn’t much pay attention to the use of our commodities until we either find a shortage or in the case of gasoline, the price per gallon and sometimes that doesn’t even cause us to conserve.

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