World Water Day
World Water Day is recognized every year on March 22 as a day to educate people about our water conditions as well as to bring awareness to the 2+ billion people around the world without access to safe water.
There are many different types of water bodies from the more widely recognized oceans, seas, and lakes to the lesser focused deltas, wetlands, and groundwater. Each provides an interconnected and complex habitat and are depended on by countless species around the world.
We see the impacts of climate change all over the world both on land and underwater. We are already experiencing the intensity of climate change in our water cycle which is causing more severe storms, droughts and floods:
“The main climate change consequences related to water resources are increases in temperature, shifts in precipitation patterns and snow cover, and a likely increase in the frequency of flooding and droughts.” European Environment Agency, 2020
Billions of people around the world lack access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation and there are many places which are increasingly struggling with water scarcity. It is expected that a water crisis will worsen, and by 2050, 5 billion people will have inadequate access to water across the world.
Water is one of the globally agreed-upon UN Sustainable Development Goals, goal 6, which has governments, institutions and businesses committed to targets to improve the accessibility and management of water and sanitation for all. Further, a spotlight is being placed on water as part of net-zero commitments, where we should commit to more water being made available than is being used. We loved this article with the Top 19 Solutions to Tackle the Global Freshwater Crisis - change consumption, recycle wastewater, shrinking corporate water footprints, and divesting from water-grabbing companies and fossil fuels.
These international efforts are an absolute must but there are also a lot of ways we can conserve water at an individual scale as well to reduce water scarcity in our own ecosystems. By working towards water conservation at this level, we are conserving our local resource supply, preparing for drought, and protecting our communities.
“The average American lifestyle demands 2,000 gallons a day to support, with 70 percent of that going to support our diets. If each of us learned how to conserve just a little more water, it could add up to big savings.” National Geographic, n.d.
Some ways you can lower your water usage:
Turn off tap while brushing your teeth and take shorter showers
Install a low-flow showerhead and low-volume flush model toilet
Use the dishwasher: the dishwasher uses less water than hand-washing
Do laundry only when full
Fix leaky faucets and pipes
Eat less meat (meat takes many gallons of water to produce)
Reduce food waste as growing food uses a lot of water and eat seasonal food as growing food like avocados at scale is unsustainable, yet our lifestyles demand that we eat them year-round
Buy and consume less as everything we buy has used water in the process, for example cotton clothing and linens use a lot of water to grow and dye the cotton
Water your lawn less, or better yet, let it go golden or plant it with food instead! Or capture rainwater and use that to water your lawn and plants
Use mulch around plants, shrubs, and trees
Don’t fund water-grabbing companies and divest from fossil fuel companies (fracking uses a lot of water). Do your research to choose brands and companies who care about their manufacturing processes, and access to water by communities