Last week, my group that I collaborate with and I were planning to create a product that will promote water conservation throughout the community. The product that we are planning on making would be a website that magnifies the seriousness of water usage. The website would have two main features. The first would be a count-up timer that shows the total amount of water used per minute, hour, or day in Lakeville and would count up continuously. The second feature would be a program that tells individuals how much water they would use per year by entering the number of times and duration they use certain common household water appliances, such as showers and toilets.
For this week’s research, my cooperators and I used Google Trends to find what search terms and topics related to fresh water depletion were becoming popular in certain time periods. Unfortunately, these topics aren’t very popular as search terms entered into Google. My group and I found that this topic has been an emerging issue which is not quite as noticed as it will in the future, so we just used the search term(s) during the time periods in which the topic was trending the most, and then looked at sources such as “The California Water Crisis: Policing vs. Pricing?” by Kathryn Shelton and Richard B. McKenzie. This article, though not about Minnesota, shows how bad the freshwater depletion situation can be and turn into a crisis.
The terms from the Google trends graph trended the most during March of 2011. During this month, an earthquake offshore of Japan struck at a high magnitude. This earthquake then caused a devastating tsunami. This tsunami flooded far inland in Japan and killed thousands of people.
Shelton, Kathryn, and Richard B. McKenzie. “The California Water Crisis: Policing vs. Pricing?” EconLib. Library of Economics and Liberty, 1 Sept. 2014. Web. 09 Jan. 2015.
The solution to defeating fresh water depletion is to advocate for water conservation by reaching out to the state government. After the dust bowl drought crisis of the 1930’s showed that the US needed a change in water usage responsibility, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (or MN DNR) went through many periods of stringent to loose control over state waters. Though the DNR changed how strict the control was, the DNR would always consider the public interest. In the article, “History of water protection,” the MN DNR elaborates they “would exercise permitting authority over these waters…for commercial, industrial, or agricultural purposes. The intent was to protect the public’s interest in the amount of water available for use” (MN DNR). Currently, the state of Minnesota has a strong intent of conserving water, so successfully advocating to the state government for stronger conservation would not be difficult, and therefore would be a tangible solution to fresh water depletion.
Though water supply still is being threatened in the US, advocation for water conservation has seen success in recent history in Minnesota. In 2008, Minnesotans voted for the Legacy Amendment which was meant to ensure the conservation of land and water in the state. In the article, “The Legacy Amendment,” the Conservation Minnesota organization explains that “the people of Minnesota voted overwhelmingly for the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. …it only happened because Minnesotans…voted to raise their own taxes to protect the things that make our state unique and special” (Conservation Minnesota). By voting for the Legacy Amendment and reaching out to the state government, Minnesotans helped to conserve water by advocating for statewide water conservation. One can further support the need for conservation and find success by reaching out to the state government just as the people who voted for the Legacy Amendment did in 2008.
Fresh water depletion can be solved by contacting the state government and advocating for conservation. Because water is a crucial necessity of life, the government has the same major responsibility to help conserve water as do citizens. Convincing the government to enforce conservation would be relatively easy compared to advocating to declare a war on a random country, so this would be a simple solution to the serious issue of fresh water depletion. As everyone has the same need for water, the government would soon find interest in conserving water.
“The Legacy Amendment.” www.conservationminnesota.org. Conservation Minnesota, n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014.
In this fresh water sustainability research project I am currently collaborating with three other researchers to encourage saving water in the community through social medias and blogs. Here is ourresearch proposal:
An infographic is a combination of imagery and data or text that relate to each other to explain a topic more effectively and easily than text or data alone. Infographics are more effective in conveying information than data or text by themselves because Guidelines in the form of do’s and do not’s to have successful infographics include but aren’t limited to:
- Title your infographic with an attention ensnaring, catchy name.
- Promote your infographic to websites on which you can submit posts.
- Make your infographic easy to understand: ensure clarity.
- include several statistics and visual representations of data
- To improve chances of making your infographic popular, make an infographic on a topic that is relevant at the time.
- Use shapes and visuals that are familiar to the audience for data.
- Don’t use too much text instead of imagery; information through text isn’t conveyed as easily as often as through pictures and visual aids.
- Avoid white backgrounds; white can be boring and represent paper, which normally uses text as a means of informing.
- Don’t use visuals that are hard to explain; visuals with confusing properties reduce clarity
- Don’t create infographics of topics for the wrong audience; make the infographic relevant to the audience you are publishing it to.
Here is an example of an infographic. One major handheld gaming system recently created by Nintendo is the 3DS which allows the player to view games and images as if there is a more tangible depth in images that use the third dimension. On a screen, images that try to portray three-dimensional shapes are able to emphasize the third dimension using colors and lighting, but in reality the image is flat and therefore only has two dimensions. On the 3DS, images are altered to complete the illusion of depth by taking advantage of a player’s depth perception (due to having two eyes) and creating a visual that would make the player feel as though they can reach into the screen and grab something. In the infographic to the left, the mechanics of the 3DS are explained. The link to the infographic is here: 3DS 3D: How it works
If you want to learn more about creating an infographic, watch the video below:
- An aquifer is a storage underground for water, which is where tap water comes from.
- Of all of Earth’s water, about 98% of it is salt water, and about 2% is frozen. Therefore, only less than 1% of Earth’s water is liquid, fresh, and suitable for drinking.
- Of all of Earth’s ground and surface water, about 99% of the water is from groundwater.
- About 70% of Minnesotans drink groundwater instead of surface water.
- The Ogallala aquifer in the High Plains has lost about 325,000,000,000 gallons of water every year for the past 40 years, which is about 13 TRILLION gallons used over the past four decades.
- Groundwater from aquifers are normally clean and unpolluted depending on pore sizes of the rock sediment or soil that bears the water.
- Sometimes aquifers can be polluted by chemicals in run-off such as road salt and fertilizers.
- Aquifers are separated into two groups: replenishable, which can recharge relatively quickly, and nonreplenishable, which recharge normally over decades to centuries.
- The average American household uses about 300 gallons of water per day.
- About 80.1 gallons of water is used every day in the average American household by flushing toilets.
Program, Minnaqua. “Minnesota Water Facts.” MinnAqua Fishing: Get in the Habitat! Appendix One: Minnesota Water Facts (n.d.): n. pag.http://www.dnr.state.mn.us. MNDNR, 2010. Web.
Brambila, Nicole C. “Ogallala Aquifer’s Dramatic Drying Sows Deep Concerns for High Plains Agriculture.” CJOnline.com. N.p., 12 Aug. 2014. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
“What Is an Aquifer?” What Is an Aquifer? N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
Brown, Lester. “Aquifer Depletion.” Aquifer Depletion. N.p., 21 Nov. 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
“EPA WaterSense | Water Education & Our Water Cycle | Water Use Today.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2014.
In the StarTribune article,”Minnesota draining its supplies of water,” Josephine Marcotty elaborates how water sources in Minnesota are being depleted. The water comes from the source, and is either used up on crop fields or sent down drains or washed down drains. Not uncommonly, the drained water is treated and sent down the Mississippi River. Because this is done often, the recharging of the supply of water in Minnesota cannot meet the current demands. Water comes from surface water or groundwater aquifers which are coming to be depleted. All that would remain would be surface water. This depends on how much rain and snow there is, which isn’t as reliable; precipitation may be to strong to seep into the water table, or there could be too light of rain. Soon, farmers and businesses would need to share ground water or leave the state just so water can be saved. Otherwise, farmers could use irrigation which is more efficient for yield of crops. Another option for getting water would be to get water from an aquifer that sends water through a pipeline for several miles to get to its destination, but is several times more expensive. One may think of recycling and treating used water rather than treating and sending water down the Mississippi river, but this idea is controversial.
As I posted previously, I posed the question: how can the depletion of water sources be prevented? In the StarTribune article,”Minnesota draining its supplies of water,” Josephine Marcotty answers,”state regulators…are planning to experiment with more stringent rules that will require some local communities to allocate scarce water.” Water supply will soon be so low that smaller communities in Minnesota will need to start contributing to rationing by enforcing water conservations. Having local towns of the metro area enforcing their own conservations would be more effective than the state government doing so alone.
Marcotty, Josephine. “Feb. 24: Minnesota Draining Its Supplies of Water.” StarTribune.com. N.p., 10 Aug. 2013. Web.
Image: Dock on Shallow White Bear Lake
More on national water supply:
Having only started my research on issues of fresh water sustainability, I have limited knowledge on the subject. Normally, many cities will have water towers so that the water is pressurized. The pressure is neutralized when faucets all around the city are turned on. water is stored in and pumped from aquifers underground which contain fresh water, but a common issue with aquifers is that they are too quickly being depleted. Lakeville is known to have notably hard water (about 18 grains per gallon), but has high quality treatment of the water used in every household of the town. Much of the water, being used for drinking, is fluoridated (this is not a Cold War conspiracy in which water supply is replaced by vodka) by adding fluoride to the water to improve dental health. This is only a small introduction to a much larger topic. My group and I chose to research this subject because it seemed to be an interesting and highly important and overlooked issue. I have many questions about the topic, such as: how does treatment cost the community, how can the depletion of water sources be prevented, how is water transported throughout the city, how would the depletion of aquifers or other water sources affect the local ecosystem, and how are the other water systems working around the country?