What Does It Mean to “Use Water”?

In the world of policy and regulation, the difference between consumptive and non-consumptive water use is like night and day.

As individuals and organizations, we all use water for drinking, washing, and flushing away waste. We install low-flow fixtures (sometimes by regulation) and fix leaks to save water—especially when we’re faced with drought conditions. LEED and other programs give us credit for using less.  

But not all water uses are the same. In many cases, we’re just borrowing the water. Typically, a municipal water utility will draw water from a source (such as a river), treat it to potable water standards, supply it to homes and businesses, and then receive much of it back as sewage to be treated again (this time to a lower standard) and released back into the river.

Published October 10, 2022

Malin, N. (2022, October 10). What Does It Mean to “Use Water”?. Retrieved from