How many people understand how water touches every living thing? Water is not just life; it connects all living things. Are we aware that only less than one percent of the world’s water is drinkable? How we share this precious resource directly impacts peace and prosperity on this earth.
Most people do not know that one-third of the water used on the East Coast of the
Hundreds of millions of women each day in the third world spend their time carrying water long distances. What’s more, they do it in difficult and dangerous circumstances: woman run the risk of being raped when they distance themselves from the group to answer the simple call of nature. There are no sanitation facilities in many parts of the world. Clean water is a critical issue
Half the people of this world live on less than two dollars a day, and one sixth live on less than one dollar a day. Already one-third of our world population or two billion people, live without safe drinking water. With an additional 2 billion people projected to be born by 2030, water scarcity is a fact of life. How Americans address water issues and how that affects the poor has global ramifications. Is it a human right to be provided with safe water? The assured supply for enough water to serve agriculture, sanitation, industry and drinking requirements is essential for a reasonable quality of life.
Conflicts, perils and loss
Our fresh water crisis is causing conflicts not just among political entities, but among wildlife, farmers, industrial entities, and simple citizens. And yes, the poor--who can not afford the simple luxury of clean water--find themselves embroiled in strife over this elemental necessity. The less fortunate usually pays higher than normal prices for their drinking and bathing water. Just a century ago it was common for many to have carry water. Today, a woman in a developing country, on average, must walk 6 kilometers each day to get fresh water. Many in the
This human development comes with a cost. One-fifth of fresh water fish are either extinct or threatened. Over one-thousand bird species are imperiled. Just in the
Water enables life through more than a simple flush of the toilet or drink of water. So why must we better conserve water? Throughout the world both drought and lack of clean water is alarming. While most Americans take clean water for granted, there are many who lack this essential amenity. This is becoming increasingly true for rural Americans who rely so much on wells and springs. Polluted water is a greater risk to children and the elderly who are more vulnerable. Hundreds of thousands of low-income American households do not have running water in their homes. Here in the
We are water, water is us
Increasingly, we are beginning to realize just how much we depend on H20. Just think─ three fourths of our brain consists of this essential compound. One way to understand the value of water is to observe it in our own bodies. One-half to two-thirds of the human body contains water. An average adult contains roughly 40 quarts of water and loses several quarts of water per day through normal elimination, sweating and breathing. Water helps rid the body of wastes, metabolize stored fats, and maintains muscle tone. We must begin to appreciate how our bodies and the earth cycle water if we wish to maintain good health and prosperity. Ironically less then 1% of the world’s water is available to meet our constantly growing human needs.
Increased awareness of water conservation imperatives and quality is critical to preserving our quality of life. We drink less than 1% of our treated water while we use 99% in other ways. Our public water systems produce more than 180 gallons per day per person, more than seven times the per capita average in the rest of the world, and nearly triple the level produced in European countries. By comparison, the World Health Organization says good health requires a total daily supply of about 8 gallons of water per person. We flush an average of 27 gallons per person per day of drinking water down our toilets; 17 gallons per day are lost through laundry and 14 gallons per day in our showers. Another tremendous waste of this valuable resource is watering our lawns. By switching to a landscape dominated by bushes and shrubs, as opposed to grass, you can reduce lawn watering by 80 percent. Simply installing a more efficient showerhead and faucet aerators will save about 7800 gallons of water per year in an average household. Sixty to ninety percent of the world’s consumable water goes to irrigation.
With excessive demands for water, pollution is also on the increase. Polluted runoff from agricultural operations, grazing, animal feeding operations, urbanization and other sources have been blamed for today’s water quality impairment. Such pollutants include siltation, nutrients, bacteria, oxygen-depleting substances, metals, pesticides, herbicides, toxic chemicals and other habitat-altering materials.
As we deplete our water, it becomes increasingly unlikely that we can stabilize water tables. It takes hundreds and hundreds of years for water to cycle back into new drinking water. Fresh water systems around the world are being degraded by urbanization, runoff, wetland loss, dams, diversions, and overuse, threatening our ability to support human, animal, and plant life.
Ground Water in the
Millions of Americans are unaware that water also comes out of the ground-- the fundamental and foremost water purification system. Forty-seven percent of the
There are nearly 15.9 million water wells serving
So much depends on it…
As time passes we will have to answer a very tough question, “Is a basic human right to have clean water?” Water use in our life time will greatly change. Certainly farms will have to conserve water.. Sixty-nine percent of all our fresh water withdrawal use is from agriculture. Industry accounts for 23 percent, while 8 percent is used for such municipal activities as drinking, bathing, cleaning, and watering plants. In the last 300 years, water use in agriculture has increased 35-fold and worldwide it accounts for 70 percent of the use of this resource. How can we provide enough while maintaining human decency to assist the poor?
We must protect the hydrologic balance of our blue earth. At the same time we must help those less fortunate to survive as we dwindle our limited water supplies. Demand will certainly exceed our finite resource of water. By observing and respecting how the intricate web of life really works, we can discover how to better protect and conserve this vital and self-sustaining process. Without such examination we will not prosper as people or a planet.