By Case O’Dell
For the Opelika

As discussed in last week’s article, “Protecting Opelika’s water resources,” we are fortunate to live in a place with abundant water resources. It’s a good thing too, because every day we use water. Just picture your morning routine: shower, brush your teeth, make coffee, cook breakfast, wash the dishes. Before we even leave the house, water has played a role in most of our morning activities. Below is a chart listing common everyday tasks and the estimated amount of water used for each one. As you read the list think about how many hundreds of gallons you may use during the week.
But water is used for more than just everyday activities. Industries use water in the manufacturing of goods and treatment of chemicals. Farmers use water to sustain livestock and irrigate crops. Water is used in mining, aquaculture, thermoelectric, and many other operations as well. When water is used in these activities it is called consumptive use, meaning that any water used will not be returned to a natural source. The amount of water used every day really adds up when you consider the thousands of residents and hundreds of businesses and industries in Opelika. For this reason, we need to be conscious of how we use our water. Anything we can do to more effectively manage and use our water will help to alleviate the stress on our local streams, rivers, and lakes.
The good news is minimizing that stress can be accomplished by making small changes to our everyday routine. Turning the faucet off while shaving and brushing your teeth, washing full loads of laundry and dishes instead of half loads, and limiting the amount of time and activities in the shower will also help reduce consumption.
For conservative water use outside make sure that lawns and plants are watered in the morning to reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation. For more ways to effectively use water visit the Opelika Utilities home page at
Modifying your daily routine to use water in a smarter way is an easy but effective step that will help preserve and keep our water resources abundant.
Individual efforts compounded together can have a significant effect on conserving and better managing our local waters. But remember, this is just the first step. Water consciousness begins at home and extends to all aspects of life.
As we continue in this series we will explore areas of pollution control and learn effective ways to build and develop land, all while improving the quality of our water. Next week we’ll learn about stormwater and how to better protect it from contamination.
For any questions or comments regarding water quality or this series feel free to contact the Opelika Engineering Department: 334-705- 5450.
This is the second installment of weekly series on water conservation and usage within Opelika city limits. O’Dell is an engineer technician with the city of Opelika.