Encyclopedia of the World's Biomes: Freshwater: The Importance of Freshwater for Domestic Use

Elsevier, Encyclopedia of the World's Biomes, 2020, Pages 12-21
Julie C. Padowski

Of the many needs humans have for freshwater, water for domestic use is the most intimately understood by an individual because it is the water we use each day. Domestic use includes all the water used in and around the home including water for indoor use, such as drinking, bathing, cleaning, preparing food, and outdoor use, such as maintaining lawns, livestock, and gardens. Due to its importance, understanding where and how much water is needed for domestic use continues to be a high priority for communities around the world. This is particularly true as rapid growth is expected to push the world population to 9.7 billion people by 2050. In most cases, this urban growth will occur in cities, and therefore particular attention is paid to the challenges and opportunities for meeting domestic water demands in urban areas. This article explores the importance of freshwater for meeting domestic use purposes in an increasingly human-dominated world. Included is an overview of how water for domestic purposes is used, how use impacts the freshwater resources that support communities, and what the challenges and opportunities we as a society face are as water becomes a more precious resource.