Water is important for all types of industries (i.e., manufacturing, transportation and mining). Manufacturing sites are often located near sources of water. Among other properties, water is an excellent and inexpensive solvent and coolant. Many manufactured liquid products have water as their main ingredient. Chemical solutions used in industrial and mining processes usually have an aqueous base.
Manufacturing equipment is cooled by water and cleaned with water. Water is even used as a means of transporting goods from one place to another in manufacturing. Nuclear power plants use water to moderate and cool the reactor core as well as to generate electricity. Industry would literally come to a standstill without water.
People use water for domestic purposes such as personal hygiene, food preparation, cleaning, and gardening. Developed countries, especially the United States, tend to use a great deal of water for domestic purposes. Water used for personal hygiene accounts for the bulk of domestic water use. For example, the water used in a single day in sinks, showers, and toilets in Los Angeles would fill a large football stadium.
Humans require a reliable supply of potable water, otherwise serious health problems involving water-borne diseases can occur. This requires the establishment and maintenance of municipal water treatment plants in large populated areas.
Much clean water is wasted in industrial and domestic use. Providing sufficient quantities of clean water in large population areas is becoming a growing problem. Conservation measures can minimize the problem:
• redesigning manufacturing processes to use less water;
• using vegetation for landscaping in arid regions that requires less water;
• using water-conserving showers and toilets, and
• re-using grey water for irrigation purposes.