Broadcast Audubon

The Value of Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has asked itself a difficult question concerning what the value of water is to the AmericanValue of water economy.  Water is obviously valuable, but because reliable data on price, quantity, and use is often not kept, water’s “total contribution to the U.S. economy cannot be quantified in any meaningful way,” according to the EPA summary report published last week.

The “entire economy directly or indirectly relies on the output of industries for which water is a critical input,” the report states. Therefore, “protecting and efficiently managing our water resources is essential to maintaining a strong, vibrant economy,” the report continues.

A few numbers do stand out in the report. The total market value of crops produced in the U.S. in 2009 was $US 144 billion and half that value came from irrigated farms. Manufacturing accounted for 17 percent of gross domestic product in 2007 and more than one-third of manufacturing’s total output came from the water-intensive chemicals, paper, metals, and fossil fuels sectors.

Estimates of the market value of the water itself ranged from $US 1 per acre-foot for hydropower to $US 4,500 per acre-foot for municipal supplies. (An acre-foot equals 325,850 gallons or 1,233 cubic meters.)

The report concludes that better information is needed on water use and water productivity for different economic sectors. Economic modeling could also show the costs and benefits of shifts in water use — from, say, agriculture to urban supply or from leaving water in rivers for recreation.

To review the entire EPA Report: Click Here 

SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

10 Fast Facts About Solar Energy

Why not switch to solar energy? Whether you install PV panels, thermal panels, or merely use smaller solar‐powered devices to charge appliance batteries, you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint.

Solar PowerWhen considering renewable energy options, there is so much information out there. How can you know what is true and what’s not? Here are 10 fast facts about solar energy, including why we need it!

Read and consider whether you are doing enough to conserve energy and reduce use of fossil fuels:

1) Each hour, of each day, more energy from the sun reaches our planet than is used by the entire global population in an entire year.

2) The projected annual growth rate for renewable energy sources is 7.2%, the fastest rate.

3) Over 3,500 square miles of federal land are currently awaiting permits for solar power development.

4) The U.S. ranks 5th in the world among nations producing the most CO2 home emissions (behind Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE and Estonia).

5) Use of electric lights results in 1/2 the pollution of all the cars on the road. Switching to LED lights use 75% less energy.

6) Solar PV is rated number 1 in growth for energy technologies.

7) MIT scientists have discovered a way to store solar power after the sun goes down (how cool is that?).

8) Every 2 months, a typical U.S. home uses one ton of coal to generate electricity.

9) Switching to a solar hot water heater (using solar thermal panels) can drastically reduce fossil fuel use. The typical 50 gallon electric water heater uses 11.1 barrels of oil a year, which translates into the same amount oil used by a typical 4 door sedan driven by the average consumer.

10) Between lower costs and tax incentives/rebates, PV solar panels are a viable option for just about any homeowner with a south‐facing roof. Payback on investment, through energy savings, is about 7‐9 years.



References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles

The International Sustainability Council 

The Reserve at Lake Keowee

Sustainability Campaign


The Royal Society of Biological Sciences

National Geographic

Double Oaks

Global Stewards

United States Department of Energy

American Society of Golf Course Architects

The United States Golf Association (USGA)


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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

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