World Water Day, on The Water Planet, in The Lonestar State

Viewed from space, the most striking feature of our planet is the water. In both liquid and frozen form, it covers 75% of the Earth's surface. It fills the sky with clouds. Water is practically everywhere on Earth, from inside the rocky crust to inside our cells. —NASA
  1. Our earth is about 75% water, BUT less than 3% of that available water is freshwater (According to the EPA). 0.3% of that freshwater are all of our rivers, lakes, streams, ponds and and swamps. 68.7% of freshwater is trapped in glaciers, 1.7% is frozen, and the final 30% of available freshwater is found in aquifers as groundwater. All of our industry, agriculture, municipalities survive on that 2%.
  2. According to the EPA, the average American individual uses approximately 100–170 gallons of water per day. According to the World Water Organization, your average African family uses approximately 5 gallons of water a day. Water security has more to do with a persons ability (physical, financial and political) to ACCESS water than it is about its availability.
  3. The first municipal water treatment plant was opened in Scotland in 1932.
  4. According to the Texas A&M AgriLIfe team, about 92 QUADRILLION gallons of water evaporate from the earth every year. 
  5. Legislation on water management is typically a response to particular events such as drought, disaster and highly degraded water quality standards. That means that our regulatory system tends to be reactive rather than proactive management structure.
  6. The first piece of American legislation that was passed to regulate water quality (meaning biological, chemical and physical pollution) was the 1948 Federal Water Pollution Control Act. It was the result of American surface water quality degrading to an extreme degree. It was amended in 1972 and then again in 1977 to form the Clean Water Act. This serves as the foundation for surface water quality standards and requires states to set standards for surface quality and regulation wastewater discharge. 

Sarah Rountree Schlessinger is a water industry professional who has worked internationally and is currently working on Texas groundwater negotiation. Today she is attending the Bandera County Water Awareness Series that is hosted by the Rancher & Landowner Association of Texas, Texas Well Owner Network, Texas Watershed Steward, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District. 



And a few more (erm, startling) facts from the World Water Organization:

  1. 1 ton of grain requires 1,000 tons of water.
  2. 1 slice of cantaloupe requires 40 gallons of water.
  3. An 8 ounce serving of steak requires 1,232 gallons of water.
  4. 1 pound of pork requires 1,630 gallons of water.
  5. Agriculture can consume 75 to 90% of a region's available water.
  6. One inch of rain falling on one acre of land is equal to roughly 27,154 gallons of water.