Should we distinguish between water use, and consumption?

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Jeff asked the Naked Scientists:

It seems that most discussions on water use seem to confuse use and consumption.  Here in the good old USA our water use is very high in comparison with other countries but I wonder if the calculations give a true indication.  For example when I take a shower the vast majority of the water used is returned to the sewer system and after a time to the ecosystem.  A small quantity is evaporated as vapour or left in the tub and towels to air dry.  So is it fair to say that I consumed 10 gallons of water for the shower when maybe a pint or so is turned into water vapor.  This is true of other household uses as well (dishwashing, laundry, toilet flushing, etc)  

Granted there must be some other losses attributed to treatment and processing but I think a distinction between use and consumption should be made.  What do you think?

What do you think?


Offline peppercorn

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Should we distinguish between water use, and consumption?
« Reply #1 on: 15/05/2008 11:53:37 »
I think maybe thre question should reframed to define whether a region is more concerned about water or energy consumption.
Here in the UK we're not usually short of a drop or two of water, however we have regular summer hosepipe bans.
I suppose in an ideal world we would have different qualities of water available for drinking, washing and watering the garden!
Reusing water may not be, except in the most arid areas the prime issue: the energy requirement is generally more pressing.