National Drinking Water Clearinghouse
West Virginia University
PO Box 6893
Morgantown, WV

Until Next Time... How I Got My Conservation Education

By Julie Black, On Tap Graphic Designer

Many of us who thumb through the pages of On Tap magazine depend upon water, but not just for the sake of actually “needing” water to stay alive. Water is what pays the bills. It is our life in many ways. Some of us work in water plants providing safe drinking water for small towns, while other folks sit at a desk and write about how to get water out of the ground or how to go about finding other sources. Then there are people who strap on their waders, grab some empty baby food jars, and wallow through the muck of a semi-polluted stream collecting water samples. There’s no denying the fact that we all need water to survive—but how many of us actually take the time to really think about it?

Does anyone have the foggiest idea of how many gallons of water they use per day? Conserving water is a foggy idea for many people because, frankly, most of us don’t know where to begin. People may question every little thing such as, “Should we flush every third time or every fourth?” or “How much are we really wasting when we leave the water running while we brush our teeth?”

It may sound ridiculous, but to actually see the numbers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Water, April 1995, Water Trivia Facts, the totals for personal water consumption is mind-boggling. According to EPA, in 1995 the average household used 107,000 gallons of water per year and your average Joe used 50 gallons of water per day. And how many gallons of water do you use to brush your teeth anyway? Try two gallons.

Who knows how much water each person will use on a daily basis in 2004 or even 2010? In an article by Harriet Emerson, from the National Drinking Water Clearinghouse (NDWC) Web site titled, “Conservation: It’s the Future of Water,” she writes, “We can estimate, according to former U.S. Senator Paul Simon’s Tapped Out, the world’s population of 5.9 billion will double in the next 40 to 90 years. “At least 300 million people live in regions of severe water shortages. By the year 2025, it will be three billion. Compounding these grim realities is the fact that per capita world water consumption is rising twice as fast as the world’s population.”

(Read more of this article online at:

With that kind of mountain to climb, let me be the first to quote Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa from the movie Rocky and say, “What can WE do about it, right?” Well, there is something we can do about it. The NDWC has collected information on our Web site at about water conservation and how to develop your own water-saving strategies.

About the Author: Julie Black has been the graphic designer of On Tap for more than three years. She also moonlights as a writer/photo journalist for

If you have a graphic idea for her, please e-mail her at


This is an excellent place to start your conservation education. They offer a variety of water conservation materials for adults, children, and educators. Many of the products provided are free. There’s even a great list of water conservation links.

We all have to start somewhere and, after all, water is life. Without it none of us could survive, and some of us would even be out of a job.