There is no resource more precious than water. There is also no resource that is misused, abused, misallocated, and misunderstood the way water is. Safe drinking water, healthy and intact natural ecosystems, and a stable food supply are a few of the things at stake as our water supply is put under greater and greater stress. At Oregon State University, we try to take care of ourselves, our campus, our town, and our world by purposefully choosing more sustainable water use practices.
2.5 gallons: The amount of water per person much of the world is allocated.
400 gallons: The amount of water per person used by the average American citizen; 30 percent of this is used for outdoor purposes, such as watering the lawn.
70 percent: The amount of worldwide water use that is allocated to farming; most of these farming irrigation systems operate at only 40 percent efficiency. According to a 2002 article by Lester Brown, aquifers are depleting all over the world--in China by 2-3 metres per year. In the US, the Ogallala aquifer is shrinking rapidly. In India, aquifers are going down by 3 metres per year, in Mexico by 3.3 meters per year.
263: The number of rivers that either cross or demarcate international political boundaries, in addition to countless aquifers. According to the Atlas of International Freshwater Agreement, 90 percent of countries in the world must share these water basins with at least one or two other states. Major conflicts such as Darfur have been connected to water shortages, and lack of access to clean water.
2.7 tons: The amount of plastic used to bottle water. 86 percent become garbage or litter.
For more information on this topic visit: http://www.treehugger.com/htgg/how-to-go-green-water.html
Corvallis drinking water comes from two surface water sources. One third of the Corvallis drinking water comes from three creeks in the Rock Creek Watershed on the east flank of Marys Peak (north and south forks of Rock Creek as well as Griffith Creek) supply water for the Rock Creek Water Treatment Plant. The Willamette River supplies the other two thirds of the water which flows to the Taylor Water Treatment Plant located in south Corvallis near Willamette Park. Click here to view the Corvallis water quality report:www.corvallisoregon.gov/waterreport
Why drink tap water instead of bottled water? Simple: Your health. Your planet. Your money. Bottled water is generally safe. But it is not safer than Corvallis tap water. If you read the labels carefully, you will find that many brands of bottled water come from a municipal water supply. There is no requirement that bottled water have a disinfectant residual. Water is perishable, and bottled water should not be stored more than a few months. Bottled water is significantly more expensive than tap water, but it generally does not provide additional safety or health benefits.
Consider that for the price of a single serving of bottled water, you could purchase almost a thousand gallons of Corvallis tap water. Creating the bottle also uses resources such as petroleum and energy. Even disposal presents a concern that should be considered when you choose whether or not to purchase and drink bottled water. Fill your own bottle with Corvallis tap water and take it with you. You may find you have a few extra dollars in your pocket. For helpful ways to refill your reusable water bottle refer to our map of campus refill stations, as well as the Tap Buddy App.
When you conserve water, you lower your utility bill and help the environment. Summer conservation can result in more water in the river for fish and aquatic organisms. Conservation also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reducing chemicals and energy used to treat and pump water and wastewater.
Put a rain barrel on your downspouts and use this water for irrigation. Rain cisterns come in all shapes and sizes ranging from larger underground systems to smaller, freestanding ones. Water that has been used at least once but is still clean enough for other jobs is called greywater. Water from sinks, showers, dishwashers, and clothes washers are the most common household examples. (Toilet water is often called "blackwater" and needs a different level of treatment before it can be reused.) Greywater can be recycled with practical plumbing systems like the Aqus, or with simple practices such as emptying the fish tank in the garden instead of the sink. The bottom line? One way or another, avoid putting water down the drain when you can use it for something else.
The Kelley Engineering Building already has a rainharvesting system that captures rainwater falling from the roof and uses it to flush toilets and irrigate reducing water usage by more than 60 percent http://eecs.oregonstate.edu/about-eecs/our-building). The Student Sustainability Center will soon have a rainwater harvesting system as well!
Local Organizations we work with: